7 May: Felix Unite camp to Springbok

133 k to ride, with 1626 metres to climb and 923 down

It was still nice and warm when we were leaving the camp but the temperature dropped noticeably as soon as we crossed the border into South Africa at 12 km.

The only people in the group that need a visa to get into South Africa are the New Zealanders. I keep telling everyone it’s because we keep beating the South Africans in the rugby. It’s actually because we have tightened up our entry criteria for South Africans, so they have reciprocated.

Last year a NZ rider, who had done the whole tour, didn’t have a visa and got turned around at the border. He had to catch a bus back to Windhoek and then a plane to Capetown, but wasn’t allowed to leave the airport before catching a plane back to NZ. To make it worse his daughter had flights to Capetown to join him there.

Getting through the border was very seamless and we were soon out the other side. To start there was a very long climb, 30 km, which was not that steep it was just on going, and I couldn’t get my speed up over 13-14 km/hr, probably as there was also a head wind. More climbing after lunch, but we then had a fantastic downhill for about 8 km, but after that a few more hills.

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13k from camp we cross through the wire at the Noordoewer border and enter into South Africa.

Before we went to camp we went into the town of Springbok to get a SIM card. We went to the vodacom store thinking it would be straightforward like it has been everywhere else, but it took over an hour to get the network to contact my phone and get it set up. I was just about at the stage of giving it up, but don’t like to be without a phone in case something happens at home. At least this is the last SIM card for the trip.

There were quite a lot of beggars in town which was sad to see. Not sure how much work opportunity there is here.

At camp you can tell it has got a lot colder, all the riders were wearing jackets and a number were wearing hats. The pool is empty and looks bleak and cold. It’s hard to believe yesterday we were wearing t-shirts and a number of riders were swimming.

I’m not wearing warm weather gear though. Yesterday when I got a bit frazzled and was looking for my purse, I somehow managed to put all my warm gear into my permanent bag! I can’t get it back till Capetown. Ha after carrying it all trip in my daily bag just in case, now the only time I need it I can’t get it! Thankfully I have my full fingered gloves in the apidura.

Dinner was peas, gravy, potato, vegetarian sausages and beetroot salad (at least a change from tomato and cucumber).

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Into South Africa and mostly good roads. Nearly there!

Categories: Tour d'Afrique | Leave a comment

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