maps and more maps

the route.

December 18, 2011

The Route.

This route has been my role for the preparation so if we can take a wrong turn I can be blamed (along with the maps and GPS that we’re taking!) As previously mentioned it’s 10 countries with a total of 12,286kms well approximately.  Aiming for an average of 120kms per day, which I am thinking of as a 2 bays loop, a regular ride I do which normally takes a bit over 3 hours.  Conditions could be a tad different on this trip.

To obtain the route I have poured through guide books, stared intensively at maps and got inspired by various online blogs.  The result… a excel spread sheet that details each day with start/finish points, kms, road conditions, sites etc…  A google image of our route can be seen below.  Overall it’s a fairly direct route from north to south with a few detours to take in some random sites.  So the countries –

Egypt – Cairo, our starting point.  Probably check out the triangular shaped buildings and follow this up with voicing our opinions in Tahrir Square prior to our departure.  We also have to visit the Australian consulate to sort some visas.  From here it’s spending new years on the Red Sea before checking out more old buildings in places like Luxor and Aswan.  We will be getting a ferry at the south to enter Sudan, hoping we get there on the right day considering its only leaves once a week.

North Sudan – Riding through the desert along the Nile before entering Khartoum.  Unfortunately we don’t reach South Sudan (the world’s newest country) as we head east to get to our next country, Ethiopia.  This will be a country where we don’t have a choice but going on the back roads mainly because I think these are the main roads.  I have read a bit about a ‘chicken man’ so this will be a certainly stop i.e. ¼ quarter chicken and chips with gravy.

Ethiopia – From the border we will pretty much be heading directly south taking in a lot of sites.

This will be the training if any for some that will pay off with ‘hills’ that reach 4000 metres plus.  Personally I am looking forward to it hoping ‘kinglake/dandenongs’ rides will pay off.   My cricket training will also pay off with the renowned stone throwing kids.    I am excited about having my second ever cup of coffee (after Rome…) considering it’s where the beans originates from.  This story alone is nearly worth the trip.  Overall this is our longest stay in a country with a total of 22 days.

Kenya – From the border its apparently one of the hardest sections we will face.  Literally open rough (and rough) roads and not too many towns in between for a section of approximately 600kms.  After this we will be rewarded with the lush centre before heading west for the Hells Gate NP – a national park we can cycle through.  The capital Nairobi features our drop off point where bikes will be updated i.e. tyres and maybe some other items that we could get sent over.

Once out of the capital we will slightly head east to get to our next border.

Tanzania – entering a secondary border so we can take advantage of the roads at the base of Kilimanjaro.  Hopefully this will be the next best thing besides actually climbing it.  From here it’s to Arusha to join the safari circuit for a few days.

Once we have ticked off the big 5 we pretty much head south (as always) where we manage to get off the beaten track clinging to the edge of the Rungwa NP.  Looking forward to this as its going to be some very quiet roads and we get to see the ‘worlds end viewpoint’… whatever that is.

Malawi – due to being quite a narrow country there is no way but south.  Early on we reach the famous banks of Lake Malawi, a huge body of water that will be tempting to swim in although several sources have warned against it i.e. bugs that make fingernails fall and things that swim where they shouldn’t.  From the lake we are heading up to the hills on a road that is apparently to steep for cars at times… we might not be heading up the hills!

Due to the country dependence on tobacco (70% of export income) I am sure we will be going past some lush agricultural areas.

We have already got excited about a round of golf in the capital, Lilongwe making the carrying of my clubs well worth it.

Zambia – one of those countries I certainly didn’t know much about before deciding to ride through it.  Now I know the former Northern Rhodesia features some amazing sites along with a lot of copper.

We will be heading west instead of the normal south taking in South Luangwa NP and then following various rivers that head towards the capital Lusaka.  Thinking once here we should probably continue onto Victoria Falls.  Looking forward to seeing how it matches up with Iguazu.

Botswana – any place that features an ‘elephant highway’ should offer some sites.  Looking forward to riding down a road and trying to avoid the local wildlife.  My current riding schedule could pay off here…

Fingers crossed for some quad biking on the Makgadikgadi National Park and a casual joy flight over the Okavango delta.

Namibia – Fortunately this is a country we will be in for a while due to its length although unfortunately we won’t get to see the skelton coast – a place made famous by Alby Mangels (  On the upside I have read about a restaurant in Windhoek that still serves game mate… giraffe here I come!

Once down south we are making a 300km detour on a one-way road to Luderitz purely due to its German heritage and the hope that we can have kranskys and steins.   Perhaps we should look into this before committing.

South Africa – Our last and shortest country.  We are simply hugging the western coast taking in some passes, wild flowers and finally Cape Town.

Might spend a day or two here before heading home.

So in a very small nutshell that’s our route.  Please post any comments below of sites/towns/restaurants with giraffes etc… that I haven’t mentioned and that we should probably check out.



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