On 05/09/18, I left the UK on a motorcycle to start a solo journey around the world. Without a shadow of a doubt, it's been the best decision I've ever made!
Lured in by my intrigue of Africa, it's the first stretch of the route. Whilst planning the trip, I noticed Africa seemed a less popular route than leaving Europe and simply heading West into Asia. This made me even more intrigued!
The journey has been epic and I've loved every second of it. A few challenges on the way with coming off the bike, being knocked off, malaria etc. but I am in no way deterred! The adventures have been awesome, such as crossing rivers by pirogue, riding footbridges, riding offroad, getting stuck in sand, denied entry to countries I've learnt loads too, such as mechanics for my bike, brushed up my French, dealing with corrupt officials. Met others travelling by motorcycle through the continent and ridden with them from a few days to a few months. The locals have been fantastic. Very friendly, helpful, and mostly just curious about me!
Part of the motivation behind the journey is to raise money for the hospice where my Mum resided. I'm absolutely delighted with the kind and generous donations.
Distance travelled this year is 23364 miles (37592 km) across 26 countries. Fairly short, but I'm in no rush. I like to explore and enjoy each place I visit.
I use untappd to rate beers, which is slightly geeky, but it says I've tried beers from 66 different African breweries!
With the prevalence of SIM cards/internet in each country, speaking to family has been easier and cheaper than expected. However, I haven't seen any family for over a year. So, marking year one has been made even more special because I've made it to Harare, Zimbabwe, where my Mum's sister and my cousin lives.
Crossing the border into Zimbabwe, I had no idea what to expect because of news reports of fuel shortages and the government's huge debt for electricity. There was fuel at the first station, so no issue so far. The folks at the station were a good laugh!
First stop, my Aunty and Uncle's place in Harare. Upon arrival, I showered straight away before enjoying a beer -- fantastic! Tucking into home-cooked food again felt so so good. Lots of pork chops, sausages, wedges, and beer!
Next stop, my cousin's place a few miles down the road. It was really nice to catch up and spend time with their boys.
I helped my cousin's husband, Gareth, to photo and package his latest piece of art. A very talented artist!
A nearby kopje (small hill) was deemed a must-see for myself being the visitor. What was the draw? A pool of water in a large stone basin near the top of of the kopje. Hand-made stone ovens lay in a cutout on the face of the kopje.
Scaling the kopje further, there was a ledge providing a convenient launch pad for a quick descent.
From the bottom, the jump looks reasonable at about 10 metres. Perched at the top, the height now appears to have doubled.
I recorded the jump on my video camera -- it's waterproof! The footage wasn't great but I salvaged some cool images like this.
A spectacular view across the land where other farms lay in between more kopjes.
Gareth wanted to show me a nearby house. On the short drive with the 4x4, there were two faces carved into stone at the side of the track.
A neighbouring farm had built a house into the stone at the foot of the kopje. It remained abandoned since the farm's land was stolen before completion.
In a gap between two enormous granite stones, a path of steps and ladders had been ran up the crevice. We were late meeting people for a sundowner (drinks at dusk), so had to leave. Otherwise, I would have explored further.