The African Adventure, Stages 76 to 80, Maun to Windhoek

Maun to Windhoek, Stages 76 to 80
825km, 2140m of climbs, paved roads.
So an average of 100miles a day for the next five days, more boring scenery in Botswana then on our third cycling day we will cross into Namibia, our TDA leader Ciaran reckons this is his favourite country, we’ll see !!
Day 1, 157km, 219m of climbs, paved roads !
I left Maun on my own but after about 20km I was passed by Maurice, Rebecca and Omar, I joined them and we made a good team. The road was fairly flat (see boring) but there was a stiff headwind. We took two minute turns on the front, this gives everyone a short rest and actually increases your overall speed significantly.
We worked well together and made lunch in good time, a quick sandwich saw us back on our bikes and still working well together. Our stop for the night would be a Bush Camp, no facilities here then !!
The wind kept up all day and the unrelenting tedium of flat roads and boring scenery finally ended as we reached camp, despite the lack of facilities it was actually a nice camp site, loads of space, decent ground to camp on and we’d made it in good time to be able to relax.
Day 2, 140km, 298m of climbs, paved roads.
Destination Ghanzi, we weren’t sure what our camp would be as Ciaran wasn’t happy with last years and is on the lookout for a new site, we’ve just been told to look for the flagging tape !!
More flat boring roads, more headwind, nothing much to look at again so it’s head down and pedal !!
To make things more interesting today we’ve been set a challenge, we’ve split into teams and over 40km we have to estimate our slowest riders time, I was with, Alex B, Rebecca, Omar and Maurice. We estimated our time word be 1hr 36mins and 36secs, we had a 30km warm up ride then the 40km time trial to lunch, results were given at rider meeting !!
We did quite well and eventually came joint third, we were 3mins to slow !!
The only other thing of note was a large road sign, it pointed the way to Namibia and South Africa, it really is getting close now !!
Our camp turned out to be a safari lodge, very nice with excellent, showers, rooms, bar and food, the only issue was the 3.5km long drive that was deep sand. Most of us couldn’t ride it and ended up pushing our bikes all the way to camp, I knew Naomi wouldn’t be pleased so I got us a room and waited for her to turn up 😉
Naomi turned up, her sense of humour slightly dented but as she said there was little choice and Ciaran did his best, knowing that the following day was the 207km day he’d also sorted out getting all the bikes and riders ferried to the main road in the morning !!
Day 3, 207km, 323m of climbs, paved roads and a border crossing !!
The big day has finally arrived, our longest day mileage wise on the entire tour, 207km, this will only be the second time l have done this distance and the first on a heavy touring bike !!
I actually walked to the road, the morning was cold and as I stood around waiting to get my bike loaded onto the truck I was getting getting very cold so I walked, on my way to the road my hands were so cold that it brought tears to my eyes. I tried every trick I knew to warm up my fingers and eventually I made it to the road and set of 😉
Again it was a fairly flat course and after about 35km we turned west and finally we had tail winds that propelled us to lunch at 80km. After lunch we still had fair winds even if we had nothing’s look at !! We took advantage of the winds and pedalled on to the rest stop at 145km, only 62km left and now the wind wasn’t playing fair. The wind kept gusting in all directions and wen it hit you in the face it almost stopped you dead. Over the last 40km I was getting quite fidgety on my bike and just tried to get to camp as soon as possible but first the small matter of customs !! Yes folks were in a new country again, this time were in Namibia, it was a quick and painless exit from Botswana and into Namibia and it was also free !! Just 1km after the border and you arrive at camp, I can finally get of my bike, I made camp at 3.30 about an hour sooner than I’d expected.
Camp was great, proper grass to pitch tents on, ATM, beer, crisps and snacks in the camp shop, all very civilised !!
I think that every rider in the tour actually cycled this day and completed the whole day, brilliant !!
Day 4, 162km, 441m of climbing, all paved roads !!
Well what a tedious day, well at least until lunch anyway, 85km of scenery that just looks the same. Straight roads, slight headwind and just pedal until lunch !! After lunch we had the town of Gobabis to look forward to, ATM, Wimpy, beer, Spar shop….all mod cons, I stopped for cash and a coke before heading out for the last 50km, a slight hill on the way out added some views to the afternoon but other than that it was business as usual.
I did get a puncture with about 20km to go and was happy to see Gus, Rebecca and Rob, they stopped to help before we all cycled to camp together 😉
Camp was one of our last bush camps and to celebrate the crew made a burning man bonfire after dinner, camp songs followed but I was tired and in my tent already !!
Day 5, 159km, 861m of climbs, all paved roads !
Did a mention I was tired, well I was so I caught the truck to lunch and started there. I think to be honest the morning ride was yet again flat and boring whereas the afternoon ride was undulating with some great views and a terrific downhill roller coaster of a ride into Windhoek.
I road most of the way with Rebecca and Omar and we stopped only for the occasional photo as there were no coke stops !!
I’d just stopped in a lay bye to wait for them after a quite long hill when a car pulled into the same lay bye. One of our riders, Bas, got out and ran over to say hello and give me a tip for a great restaurant in Windhoek 😉
Bas was on his way hometown attend a funeral, sad times but hopefully he’ll be back for the ride into Capetown !!
In Windhoek we stayed at the Arrebusch Lodge, I was fortunate to get there early and nabbed a room for Naomi and myself. Great rooms, very clean, not huge but everything worked !!
The following day was a rest day so it was time to sort washing, email etc, and all the other jobs that build up !!
We did however get the chance to go to the restaurant that Bas mentioned, it was called Nice, it’s a hotel and catering student restaurant and there were eight of us that went, the place itself is beautiful, the staff were attentive although perhaps a little timid still but they’ll get more confident with time. The menu and subsequent food were a delight, inventive food well cooked and together with some excellent wine it turned out to be a great evening 😉
The next day was all about shopping, when we finally arrive in Capetown there will be a riders party so most people took the opportunity to shop for party gear as most of us only have cycling or camp kit with them !!
Back to the Lodge in the afternoon for some relaxation and a very nice meal in the restaurant, a huge steak for me with a very good pepper sauce, getting spoilt the further south we go.
And so to bed, more tough days before our next rest day at Sesriem !!

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About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
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