To the Cape
Once I was across the border into South Africa I decided to make a bolt for Cape Agulhas. I was so close now I just wanted to get there. Chris had gone on ahead to try to find a new front tyre and I was hoping to catch up with him. Although we now had no way of contacting each other as our Namibian mobiles didnít work here in South Africa.
I only stopped when I needed to fuel up every one hundred and eighty miles or so. It was good to see the first signs for Cape Town counting down the kilometers. I had decided some time during the journey to head directly to Cape Agulhas the most southern point of Africa that was the destination.
I wasnít going to make Cape Agulhas in one day so I started to find somewhere to lay my head for the night. Many people had warned me not to bush camp in South Africa, so it was going to have to be a campsite or hotel. As it was starting to get dark I still hadnít found anywhere to stay. Night driving in South Africa is made all that more difficult by many drivers not grasping the concept of dipping their lights for approaching vehicles so I was constantly getting dazzled.
I was now only twenty kilometers from Cape Town and I really didnít want to enter the city at night. Even though I had left home after dark five month previously I really wanted to see Cape Town for the first time in daylight!
I eventually came across a trailer park and after getting someoneís attention through the locked gates I was inside pitching up my tent. That evening I met some interesting characters in the camp bar.
The next morning I was on the road again heading for the Cape. It was a shame not to have picked up Chris Bone on the way. It was looking like I was going to have to celebrate alone. Dan, Ed and Chris had already been in Cape Town for a week or so and weíre pretty much on their way home.
Dan and Linz that I had rode with in Senegal, Gambia and Burkina Faso were still in Cameroon after an unexpected six-week stop in Niger when Dan had broken his arm.
With only twenty kilometers of riding in the drizzle left to do before finally reaching my goal. I had an urge to stop and have lunch. I wasnít particularly hungry I just think that I didnít want to finish the longest ride of my life.
After taking my time eating a toasted sandwich I rode off. The rain had stopped and the sky was beginning to brighten. I followed the signs to the most southern point of Africa and pretty soon I had Cape Agulhas lighthouse in my sights. I pulled up and felt a sudden rush of emotions. Iíd made it! What a good feeling! Iíve made it! The bike and I have actually made it and in one piece! Just now a few KGís lighter and perhaps a little wiser.
The BMW R1200GS after 136 days, 15.176, miles, three punctures, two sets of tyres, 1400 litres of fuel, seventeen countries and eleven ferry crossings she is looking in pretty good shape! Was it the best choice for the trip? Yep!
I must have radiated my elation, as it wasnít long before I had a little crowd around me congratulating me and asking questions. Once I had taken the obligatory photos I found a rock and looked out it sea I was enjoying the moment and didnít want it to pass. I sat there for a couple of hours just letting it all sink in and thinking back over the last five months.
It was a shame I had forgotten to pick up a bottle of bubbly but everything happens for a reason. I returned the next day with a bottle of pink fizz to toast the Cape with a couple of people that I had met at Cape Agulhas Backpackers. We pulled up in the van and who was there? Chris Bone!
After a couple of days we found ourselves in Cape Town what a perfect city to unwind in after this epic adventure!
To be continuedÖÖ.
Posted by Michael Beckett at May 18, 2008 11:34 AM GMT