Hi everybody, my name is Penny and my husband and I are leaving on the 18th October 2012 from Mossel Bay in the Cape (South Africa)to Cairo and beyond. Beyond meaning the middle east but that all depends on the political situation in Syria. We will be touring with ordinary mountain bikes and towing Carry Freedom Y frame trailers. We will be camping all of the time (budget) and cooking our own food.
Our route will be:
Up the Cape West Coast
Namibia and along the Caprivi Strip
It would be awesome to meet up with fellow tourers and swap notes and say hi.
Hey, I just saw your post and wanted to wish you a safe and incredible journey! (Safari njema in kiswahili, which I am sure you will hear plenty of this greeting as you move through East Africa). I just completed 11 000 km from Cape Town to Alexandria, Egypt and passed through many of the same countries (although Visas/elections in Egypt/other political and security situations made the northern part of my travels sticky, and so I did not pass through Sudan by bike). To say the least, it was an amazing experience.
There are a few VERY lovely warmshowers hosts you will find along the way - Langebaan ZA, Swakopmund NB, Arusha TZ, Addis Ababa ETH, Alexandria EGY... If you're keen on planning a teensy bit as you go, Couchsurfing may be a resource you find helpful as well. Wifi is pretty easy to come by, and even small villages will have an internet cafe. If you travel along dirt in Namibia (...solitaire, etc) you will stumble upon farm houses every 50km or so, and I have met MANY kind and generous people by knocking on doors. (I was offered many a places to camp, as well as refill my water, and the company along these long roads was very appreciated on both ends I think!) Water is HUGE... I carried enough for 2 days (12-14 L) and with the kindness of local farmers and driving tourists, that was sufficient. FOOD is important to stock up on too in Namibia, because in the tiny towns you find along the way, everything is 3 times the cost.
For the most part, you will find that villages and people are abundant, happy to show you where to find water or food or a place to wash if you need. I regularly visited churches, missions and police stations and was able to find a safe place to put my tent for the night. Also I would find English speakers here too, always water, and sometimes something to eat. I mostly lived off local food as soon as I hit Zambia, as there were always locals selling fruits, tea, biscuits, doughnuts, meat and vegetables over a fire, cooked cornmeal, etc..) and stopped carrying so much because it was just as cheap and deeply enriched my experience.
The stickiest part was getting the visa for Ethiopia, because the embassy in Kenya refused me (and many others) at first because I was not in my home country (Canada). However, I just had to talk to a few other people, tell about my journey, and they were happy to stamp my passport. It just took a few days... Another tricky bit was from Addis Ababa to Sudan, and they were only going to give me a 14 day transit visa IF I showed my pre-approved Egypt Visa. There's a 1time/wk ferry that gets you into Egypt from Sudan, so it could be tight if you took that. That's one of the reasons I decided to fly to Cairo and work south from there at that point in my journey (others told me that it was quite easy to get a visa for Sudan in Asswan Egypt, and for Ethiopia from Sudan...plus you've got the tailwind coming from the North usually).
Egypt may be politically tricky, as you probably could guess, and I chose to pass through the desert route instead of the Nile valley. It was recommended for a woman travelling alone, as others reported not-so-wonderful levels of harassment along the busier nile route. I passed: Cairo - Alexandria - Cairo (2 diff roads, the dessert road was much less busy than Agricultrual) - Then took the road that passes through the Oases, like Farafra and Kharga. The oases are where you can shop and fill up on water, see green again and have some company! Otherwise there are ambulance stations and military check points every 40-100 kilometers and they will be SO happy to help you out. You can refill your water here, maybe have some tea ;), and this is where I would usually camp each night. If you push your bikes a bit through the sand, the dunes are amazing spots to sleep in solitude and watch the sunset and stars!
Hah, okay I think I bombarded you with info - I really loved my journey and can't wait to go back. I am quite envious that your Africa adventure is about to begin! As a new friend once said to me in Nambiba: may you experience the smile of Africa - You will soon understand what that means!
My blog is http://mooncycleafrica.ca and I hope you share your own stories as you travel along!
think so you`ll get no problems with Syria. If there`s almost shootings you can take the ferry from Port Said to Mersin/Turkey. The name of the ship is "Apollonia".
Sorry the link is just in german.