Day 6 Windhoek
Today was a “rest” day. We woke up late, sorted out laundry and stocked up on groceries. Olaf had some PT.
The highlight of the day was the visit from the US ambassador Berry who joined us for a ride in the afternoon. He tried a hand cycle for the first time. Jay did a brilliant job of coaching the Ambassador, she covered riding basics, turning on a hand bike, drafting and they finished off with a race. This was a great experience for all involved. Thanks to Mitch and Roodley & Nico from the para Olympic cycling team for joining us, lending a hand bike and racing with the Ambassador.
Dinner was with entire team, Epic Enabled and Bidii Yetu, at Joe’s Beerhouse where many folks tried zebra, springbok, alligator, oryx and kudo. There were vegetarian options in the menu.
Day 7 Windhoek – Etango Range Guest farm
Our hearts are full. Windhoek has been a heartwarming base for us. We stayed in Klein Windhoek Guest house which was mostly ACCESSIBLE for our people with disabilities (Olaf & Jay). Mannies Bike Mecca helped us sort out our bike issues.
Today we leave Windhoek for the final time. To make this day extra special, Nico & Roodly from the Para Olympic Training Team joined us for the ride out of Windhoek. This was a very hilly ride and they are strong riders. They made the journey so real for us – to be able to ride with others with disabilities. With 2km left to our rest stop, the gravel surfaced again, the Namibian riders didn’t hesitate for a second and grinded through the gravel. They’d completed the Namibian Desert Dash challenge so this was no surprise. It was fun to see them surf across the sand and stones with such ease. We completed 43Km.
Once we got our overnight stop, Etango Ranch Guest Farm, the 2 riders joined us for lunch. This was fun, however bidding farewell to them was sad. Thank you for touching our hearts… they left most of us quite emotional. Olaf specifically was filled with tears when they left. Sharing disabilities across borders is such an intimate experience.
The Accomodation had a swimming pool. Matt and Olaf jumped in and almost froze. But they were braver than the rest of us.
We will miss our Namibian cycling colleagues and we now head for the border with Botswana.
Day 8 Etango Lodge to Arnhem Caves and Leisure.
We Left at 0815 , the route was flat, our pace was great. We had a little headwind.
At 1230 we stopped for lunch at an intersection. This spot seemed popular for locals to get a lift to their respective destinations. There were kids there with their dad. They came to chat to us and the little ones rode Jays bike.
After lunch and Another 10km of riding made our distance for the day 69km. We than needed to get to our accomodation which was 35km of brutal gravel road.
We saw lots of animals along the route. Whilst driving Alfie felt that something was wrong with the trailer. When he checked the tyre was shedded, completely ripped off the rim, we’ve been driving on the rim for a kilometer.
Epic Enabled crew replaced the tyre and we were on our way.
Accommodation was a lovely campsite with both Camping and Chalets. Design was modern and rustique, a beautiful blend indeed.
While the rooms accommodated wheelchairs, wheeling around the campground was impossible due to the thick sand. The caves (largest in Southern Africa) that make the area famous were not accessible so we opted out of that tour.
The morning presented a wonderful sunrise that Matt time lapsed. and then we were off.
Day 9 Arnhem Caves & Leisure to West Nest Lodge
This was a camp site with chalets, so breakfast was outside. It’s always awesome to watch the morning unfold so beautifully as we have breakfast. After breakfast we got into the vehicles as the road out of here was a 35km gravel road back to where we finished yesterday.
A long drive out of Arnhem which took almost an 1h30m. We started riding at 1040 and had 62km to ride to Africa Awaits Lodge, at this point we’ll be 82km away from the Botswana Border. Todays ride was flat and fast. We arrived at West Nest Lodge at 1530.
West nest lodge was tented accomodation, tents big enough for 3 single beds and shared showers and toilet for 4 people. Here the water was warmed by wood, so the first ones into the shower did not get the hottest experience. But the rest thoroughly enjoy their shower. Star gazing the night before was beautiful as always.
Day 10 West Nest Lodge to Africa Awaits Lodge
We all slept well. Breakfast was French toast and baked beans. We set off at 1030 to complete a 49km journey. The route was very flat; we average 19km per hour. Today we passed the 600km mark. Finishing our day with 612, we’re officially 20% into our journey. Africa Awaits Lodge was a beautiful setting, the rooms faced the water pit, as the sun set the animals drank water. This was just such a spectacular sight. With the sun setting in same direction, the captures were out of this world. We were lucky to experience such grandeur. Supper was a yummy Chakalaka and chicken hot pasta.
All the sand did not make for easy wheelchair access.
Day 11 Africa Awaits Lodge to Zelda Farm and Guesthouse
Breakfast was at 7am, as we indulged in pancakes and syrup , the billy goats from the lodge, were being taken out for a walk, soon after, as we left the goats were also on their way out.
Before we set off, the orange poles on Olaf’s bike had to be adjusted. His head was tilted slightly to the right because the poles were in the way.
There was a strong headwind and Matt, Marcy and Baveesha shared the task of poling Olaf. Marcy started and struggled at the low speed until Olaf realized he has his brake on. At about 1120 Olaf’s front tyre went flat. Because we had a long day ahead and we needed to complete 82km, Olaf decided to fix his tyre in the vehicle while the rest of us rode. We rode until 1230 and stopped for lunch. During lunch,Olaf, Matt & Franco got the tyre sorted out. Lunch was tuna pasta salad.. perfect for our long mileage day.
After lunch we were left with just 30km to finish.
We arrived at Zeldas at 1535. Another 2km gravel section to the accomosation which we all all road and Jay bottomed out right at reception. We’ve started to
enjoy these gravel sections, looks like we’ll need to come back one day for the Desert Dash challenge.
Day 12 Zelda Farm and Guesthouse Rest Day
A well deserved rest day, we slept well and woke up to have breakfast at 8. Zeldas is an old lodge/guesthouse with the nicest most helpful staff. The rooms we had were generally accessible and the pathways were mostly paved though wheelchairs were still challenged. They did our laundry at no cost. This was very kind . Thanks a mil. We caught up on admin and emails with decent wifi in the mail building. We enjoyed spending time with Elvis the wildebeest that stays at the lodge. He came here when he was a few weeks old and never left. The staff and owners have been taking care of him since. He roams around the lodge all day long. Today we got to play with him. It was special, when will we ever get to touch a wildebeest in our lives. At 1630, we set together and recorded our wrap of Namibia. It was awesome to consolidate and see how everyone was feeling. After our group session we went on a Bushman experience, to experience a walk as they do. We seem to just walk through a bush, they actively observe the plants, sand and prints, and utilise elements of the earth in everyday life, roots for tanning leather, branched for brushing of teeth, making their version of alcohol & finding and making medication. This was interesting. The owner than took us on a short game drive. We got to a golden wildebeest, white springbok, zebras and more wildebeest.
Supper was a buffet prepped by the Lodge, this was very tasty, crumbed chicken, kudu with mushroom and onion, fish, mixed vegetable, cinnamon spiced carrots, salad and we finished with desserts Milk tart and jello and fruit.
After our tummies were full we retired for a good night sleep ready to cross into Botswana in the morning.