It has been a tough few days of the bike for me riding through Botswana but it has all been worth it as we are now staying at this little gem of place called Elephant Sands. Here is my five- point reflection on the past few days:
- Since my last update we have ridden a further 534km taking our total distance ridden to just over 1000km. We have had four days of riding over 100km which has been tough on the body and I find that around 40km into a ride I start feeling really uncomfortable on the saddle but somehow you just keep peddling onwards. I have also been struggling over the past few days with aches and pains in my legs from my quads to my calves. I have been stretching after each ride but probably not enough so I plan to use these two rest days to do some intense foam rolling and stretching to get the body ready for the next block of riding.
- The roads in Botswana have been really amazing to ride on though. They are mostly smooth and flat and when we have a tailwind behind us we are able to keep up a really decent pace of 25km/h on the Qhubeka Buffalo bicycles. On our cycle leg from Palaype to Serule we also had a road we could ride on that was parallel to the main road, which meant that we didn’t have to have a car following us all the time and we felt a lot safer than having the big trucks driving right past us.
- It was inevitable but Warrick and I managed to get our first set of punctures on the cycle leg from Serule to Woodlands Stopover which is just past Francistown. Unfortunately, the repair patches we had on us did not work and we ended up having to pull into a local tyre shop to help us out. The Botswanan people we have met on this journey including at the tyre shop have all been so friendly and helpful. They all seem to be very interested in what we are doing and have all wanted to take photos with us all which has been lots of fun.
- We had our first bush camp on our leg from Woodlands to just past Motsetse. I was really nervous about bush camping (i.e. just pitching up camp off the side of the road not in a campsite) before going on this trip. The guys managed to speak to the owner of a plot of land just off the side of the road and got his permission for us to camp on his land which made me feel a lot more comfortable. Besides having to have a wet wipe shower which was not great I survived one-night camping in the middle of nowhere.
- We have had a change of plan in our schedule this week where we decided to rather push ahead to Elephant Sands a day earlier to allow us two rest days here. This was the best decision ever as this place is exactly what we all needed – African bushveld at its best. The place is situated around a waterhole that is frequented by wildlife in the area. The lodge has a platform that allows you literally to sit right by the waterhole. When we arrived after a really long ride of 125km there was a whole herd of elephants drinking which was just magic and exactly what I needed after some tough days on the saddle.