Cairo to Cape Town: Complete!

I packed up and rode the last few kilometres up the pass. This was to be the final pass before dropping out of the mountains, on my way to the coast and the southernmost point of Africa.

What goes up, must come down. And so down I went, dropping from an elevation of about 1000m to 300m.

The tarmac returned as the road flattened and I rode into the town of Montagu. For the first time in three days I went to a supermarket, and ate rather more hot food than necessary.

The road followed a canyon through rocky hills, even going through a (very small) tunnel. Those are expensive to build, so they are not common in Africa. It’s a long time since I last saw one.

Rolling hills formed the basis for the next several hours, sometimes past vineyards and sometimes past fields of wheat or livestock. A strong headwind slowed my progress.

Eventually I descended from one last hill, down to sea level. After another hour or so I saw the sea, for the first time since Egypt.

I passed through the town of Struusbai, and continued along the coast towards the village of L’Agulhas. The sun was setting by this time.

Past L’Agulhas I left the road and crossed the beach for a little while, riding along the rocks before reaching a monument.

This monument marks the southernmost point of Africa. It is also the boundary between two oceans, the Indian and the Atlantic. There were a couple of other people there and I asked them to take a photo for me. I don’t often do that!

It was getting dark and there wasn’t really much point hanging around. I turned around and cycled back the way I’d come for about half an hour. It was dark by the time I reached a hostel in the town of Struusbai and checked in. There was a campsite in L’Agulhas but it was significantly more expensive than a dorm bed here.

I backtracked another few kilometres in the morning before turning off onto a dirt track through the Agulhas National Park.

After some 25km of flat but bumpy dirt, I reached a tarmac road. I stopped in the village of Elim to buy some biscuits, and continued on.

There was another dirt section, also 25km long. This was somewhat hilly, and led me through farmland.

Back to paved roads, I made my way back to the coast.

In the afternoon the weather changed somewhat. The tailwind I’d enjoyed for much of the day became a headwind, and dark clouds gathered.

I went to a campsite in the town of Kleinmond. The gate was open but there seemed to be no one around. I tried calling a phone number on a sign, but had no answer. Well, the bathrooms were open so I figured I’d just set up camp and pay later.

Nobody ever did show up to collect money. I left a bit later than usual in the morning and there was nobody then either. I set off and rode for an hour, to the town of Betty Bay.

I made my way over to the Stony Point Nature Reserve, and parked my bike. Wandering around the car park were… Penguins!

Apparently, Dassies are the closest living relatives of African Elephants. I don’t see it, myself.
Lots of Cormorants, too.

Back to cycling, the road went inland for a little while before returning to the coast. I rode along a hilly coastal road for a while, with wonderful views of the blue sea to my side.

I headed back inland again as I passed through towns. These towns were prosperous, quite unlike the townships that followed.

Past these townships I reached the outskirts of Cape Town, and stopped at a bike shop. By this point my chain was skipping pretty much every time I set off from a traffic light. I confirmed that this bike shop had all the drive train components I needed and arranged to come back the next morning to have the work done.

I then continued on to a hostel, Green Elephant Backpackers. They allowed camping so I set up my tent and stayed there for a few nights. I was quite productive during my days in Cape Town. I went back to that first bike shop where they replaced my chainrings, chain, cassette and bottom bracket. I also went round a variety of other bike shops, where I bought a new bottle cage, shoes, saddle and some bike shorts.

Cape Town

I was also searching for a new brake caliper. None of the shops sold mechanical disk brake calipers – they were all on hydraulic now. One knew of somebody who had a relatively new Avid BB7 brake (the sort I wanted), and wanted to replace it. I arranged to buy it off him.

On my last day in Cape Town, I went to climb Table Mountain. Cape Town site at sea level, while the mountain goes up above 1000m, so it’s a fairly long climb. The first 350m or so were by bike, as I cycled to the cablecar station which also serves as the trailhead.

The first part was essentially just a steep staircase, until I reached a junction. The path I planned to take, the India Venster route, came with some warnings attached.

There was a fair bit of scrambling, and some short sections that definitely crossed over into rock climbing. There was one section that didn’t have hand/footholds, so metal staples had been driven into the rock face.

Looking Down

After about an hour and a half I reached the top, which is pretty much a plateau. It took about 20 minutes to walk to the other edge of the plateau, which is slightly higher than the rest.

After the 20 minute walk back, I descended via a different route, Platteklip Gorge. This is the “standard” path, and is essentially a long, uneven staircase. Descending 700m on stairs was a lot of work for my calves; I knew they’d be sore the next day!

Mar 22: 177 km

Mar 23: 137 km

Mar 24: 106 km

10 thoughts on “Cairo to Cape Town: Complete!

  1. Perhaps when you visit Calgary, if you visit Calgary, I can get some friends together and we can cycle some trails in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Banff

    Like

  2. Congratulations, Sam, for your amazing accomplishment! It must have been quite a feeling to finally see the ocean after such a long time, to ride along the coast and finally arrive at Cape Agulhas. Your photos are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s