The Sahara is a vast, endless desert and normally not a destination for cyclists. However, for our project, the desert was of necessity and therefore a fixed feature our route. We started at the North Cape in Norway and our trip will end in Cape Town in South Africa. This mammoth project comprises approximately 35’000 km, which we plan to cycle during two years.
Even before leaving home, we had the biggest respect of the desert. The heat, the long distances without civilization and therefore a lack of water were the crucial points. At the end, the route turned out to be doable. We had no problems with water, temperatures were pleasant and we always found a place to sleep. Thanks to our plan to cross the Sahara in the winter months, the temperatures during the day were not too hot and in the night relatively cool. However, it was arduous and a mental borderline experience. Luckily, we were equipped with quality materials. The Merino shirts from super.natural dried always quickly and when they were soaked from sweating, we even profited from the short cooling effect.
During the crossing of the desert, we set a new personal record for the longest time without a shower. After ten hard days, several sand storms and constant direct solar radiation, we could wash our almost unrecognizable bodies. It was interesting that our shirts from super.natural did not even smell too bad after those long, intense days on the bicycle.
When we reached Senegal, we finally reached sub-Saharan Africa and the largest change in many regards expected us. The culture, the people, the dishes and the landscape transformed rapidly. From the beginning, we felt comfortable and prolonged the duration of our journey a couple months.
Countless times, we profited from the endless hospitality of the Africans and therefore had a deep insight into daily life. Everywhere the locals received us with a smile and were always welcome. The animated exchange was intense and the village life became our daily routine. We got used to the local customs and ate in one of the local food stalls every day.
The intense rainy season forced us to ask in remote villages for a place to spend the night. In the beginning, this was a special experience, but after a few weeks, it became routine. First, we always picked a village; asked for the chief, offered him a cola nut as the tradition demands and afterwards the villagers welcomed us officially, after we shared the valuable nut. The village chief never rejected us and it was always self-evident that we could wash ourselves and somebody cooked for us. During the long rainy season in the tropics, our clothes almost never dried, but even then, the Merino shirts were comfortable to wear, when they were soaked and did not result in sore points.
Now we already reached the Republic of the Congo and therefore are in the center of Central Africa. On our way to South Africa, we still have to cross four immense countries and it will take us at least six months to reach our destination.