The final numbers: 16 countries 🇬🇧 🇫🇷 🇧🇪 🇱🇺 🇩🇪 🇦🇹 🇸🇰 🇭🇺 🇷🇸 🇧🇬 🇬🇷 🇹🇷🇪🇬🇸🇩 🇪🇹 🇰🇪; 10,205km 🚵🏻♂️; 752km other transport 🚢; 6 punctures 😔 ); 32 kind hosts ☺️; 42 nights wild camping 🏕; 22 at campsites ⛺️; 66 indoors 🏠; 22.5kg of pasta 🍝! ….to be continued
Some things seem like an excellent idea at the time, but never are. Booking the cheapest flight we could find leaving Nairobi at 4am was one of those! However we are now pretty well adept at setting up a home anywhere, and Nairobi international airport was no exception.
With the world quickly spiralling into unprecedented times we are incredibly lucky to have escaped Kenya when we did, two weeks more and we’d have been left in a difficult situation. Hopefully when we return one day to finish this journey, life will have regained some stability out in Africa.
After seven months of pushing our pedals around and round, we were whizzed back to Europe in a meagre eight hours.
The end of our African Adventure finished in a rather surreal way, staying with the wonderful Biddy, her fantastic house keeping team and 27 dogs. Yet another person who welcomed us into their home and made us part of the family. We quickly settled into family life; joining puppy training, playing with the tortoises and listening to some fascinating stories about a lifetime in Kenya. It was a slight ease back into the world we were returning to, with a cosy bed, Yorkshire puddings, and nightly dose of Eastenders.
Before we left this incredible continent, we were lucky enough to explore some of its natural wonders on four wheels (rather than two). The Nairobi National Park treated us to 🦁 🦏 🐊🦎 🦌 🦛🦒 🦓 🐃 🦅🐗🦋🦜….and so much more! Just a few kilometres from the mayhem of Nairobi City Centre, this 117km2 is a tranquil wilderness. The park doesn’t have any 🐘, so we visited Sheldricks Baby Elephant sanctuary to see the orphans feeding from oversized baby bottles.
Cape to Cape ✅
Cape Wrath to Cape Muhuru. Not quite our original plan, but we‘ve learnt that the best adventures take their own path, and for now it’s time to say goodbye to Africa.
We made a difficult decision in Khartoum to shorten our time on the continent before we turn into a case study for antibiotic resistance 😂 (We kept a few unpublished stories to ourselves so we don’t worry anyone at home…more amusement coming your way soon). It took a leap of faith to set out on this trip, but it has undoubtably been the best thing either of us have ever done. Even at the end of our toughest days, we always ask ourselves whether we’d rather be here or back in our normal routine. This always makes us smile, as the answer is never the latter. Sat on the edge of lake Victoria, Tanzania just a few pedal strokes away, we feel a little sad and not quite ready to end our time in Africa, but that’s the way we want this to end – on a high and wishing we had a little longer. We will definitely be back one day to finish our ride to Cape Town.
The stretch to Muhuru is the only part of our trip that has reminded us of Cape Wrath – truly dire roads, tiny remote fishing communities, and a group of friendly faces to celebrate with us.
It’s not quite time to hang our helmets up just yet though….watch this space.
The Great Rift Valley; a stunning place to ride. Sunrises that we can barely believe are real; Maasai walking their cows alongside us on the road; and endless rolling hills making our legs burn.
GiveDirectly is a charity based on the simple premise of sending one-off unconditional cash transfers to very poor households.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? A chunk of money is handed out with no control over what happens to it. Surely people will jump at the opportunity to buy a new pair of Nike trainers? Rigorous research done by both GiveDirectly and external assessors shows that giving recipients the freedom to do what they want with the money has a much higher impact than other approaches to reduce poverty.
As well as visiting the Nairobi HQ, we spent a day with the field team in Bomet, visiting past recipients and watching the enrolment process.
It was touching to see how several years on, people had turned their lives around from the GiveDirectly transfer. In many cases people used the money to invest & generate an income. For example, one family used the money to develop a shop/cafe (serving 3 villages), meaning they no longer have to work in harsh conditions to earn $1 a day, and now their kids can go to school. With the recipient taking full responsibility for the construction of the cafe, they boosted local employment and kept costs very low. Costing just $350, it would probably have cost $3,500 if managed by a charity. The business is now so profitable ($70/month) that the family are extending to create a barber shop.
Watching the charity in the field was quite something. The end-to-end process is so simple and slick, that a team of 50 are part of an operation handing out over $15m a year, including visiting every participant individually and following up with them several times.
GiveDirectly is not solely about cash transfers, they are running several other programmes, including one concerning Universal Basic Income.
There are a million and one things we could tell you about our visit, but there isn’t space to do so here. We are very happy to talk to anyone in detail about our experience.
January and our running totals: 15 countries 🇬🇧 🇫🇷 🇧🇪 🇱🇺 🇩🇪 🇦🇹 🇸🇰 🇭🇺 🇷🇸 🇧🇬 🇬🇷 🇹🇷🇪🇬🇸🇩 🇪🇹; 8403km 🚵🏻♂️; 702km other transport 🚢; 4 punctures 😔 (we knew it couldn’t last forever); 31 kind hosts ☺️; 37 nights wild camping 🏕; 22 at campsites ⛺️; 47 indoors 🏠; 21kg of pasta 🍝!
We made it to Nairobi just in time for Girl Guiding World Thinking Day, and we’re invited along to a regional celebration. This was a vibrant occasion, with a personal highlight for us being that of watching the First Lady dance to Baby Shark.
Kenya has the fifth largest participation in Girl Guiding globally, with the work that it carries out stretching far beyond the stereotypical knot tying and flag carrying. Informal education is used to give young women the skills and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their life, and which they may not get at school or home. One area is health; the association is working across the country to stop school drop-outs due to pregnancy and menstruation, and reduce HIV/AIDS rates.
We were luckily to meet Jayne Wachira from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the second charity which we are supporting (link to our giving site is on our support page).
Kenya has satisfied all our dreams about what we imagined cycling through Africa would be like – in particular the wildlife. From day one we’ve been on our own private cycling safari, without even entering a game park. We’ve have baby giraffe run alongside us, chased ostrich down the road, and witnessed a real life zebra crossing.