[noteblock] Day 26 – 30 Catchup [/noteblock] I am enjoying my last rest day this month at Rocktail Bay Beach Camp (a Wilderness Safaris Resort) and can hardly believe that by tomorrow I will have run just over a thousand kms and will arrive at the Mozambique Border. It has been an incredible journey so far. I left Durban behind me 2 weeks ago and for most of the last week I have been running in unbearably hot and humid conditions along the pristine coast of the iSimangaliso Wetlands Reserve from Mapelane Nature Reserve (just North of Richards Bay) via Cape Vidal, Sodwana and Kosi Bay.
It is not easy to obtain permission to do so and I consider it a unique privilege to have experienced first-hand the incredibly positive result of hardcore conservation by people who are passionate about restoring this wonderland to its original state of magnificence. Since shortly after leaving the Transkei there has been no more swimming across rivers because they are now teeming with crocs and hippos. Early one evening just before running into Cape Vidal I saw a leopard coming out of the dense subtropical vegetation onto the beach. I have wanted to see a leopard in the wild my whole life. Pete accompanied me on a bike over the 70km stretch between Cape Vidal and Sodwana to help carry water as there is no road access – our plans were (with permission and compliance with stringent rules!) to camp overnight on the beach. An idyllic evening turned into a hectic downpour which resulted in us packing up camp at 2am and continuing on our way with headlamps through the driving rain.
It was an amazing experience to be running along the coast near Sodwana as the sun rose on a beach thick with ghost crabs, cowrie shells and coral, knowing that my distance for the day would be completed by 9am! Despite the tick bites, sunburned lips, aching soles and infected insect bites (which mutated into horrendous boils) I am so sad (but also so excited) that the first part of my journey is coming to an end and that we will be heading inland on mountain bikes for the next month.
[noteblock] Day 36 [/noteblock] Just over 90km yesterday with more than a 1000m of climbing and everything hurts! I am sure my bike is not set up correctly and I start to feel as if I have had an epidural from about 20km with the lower half of my body alternating between complete numbness and pins and needles. I am desperate to lose my bike and start running again! Eish! I really need to stop wishing this cycle over because it is amazingly beautiful and I am so priveleged to be having this experience of the beloved country.
Yesterday we cycled from 30km SE of Pongola to 40km outside of Piet Retief and were blown away by the friendliness and interest and huge smiles and sawubona/yebo/sharp!’s from everyone we past. Hooray for Abrie Botma from Rocky Mountain Bikes who is sponsoring us a 29’er which I will pick up in Nelspruit in a couple of days and which should make my cycling a much happier experience!
[noteblock] Day 37 [/noteblock] Today, another very tough day of cycling! 90 odd km with another 1000m of climbing! Eish i am doing this the wrong way round – I should be going down sea level rather. I am finding the cycling very hard, much tougher than i imagined. I have constant lower back pain and tendinitis in my left hand. How bizarre – legs and bottom feel great though which is something to be grateful for. Pete cycled with me the whole day today which was great. We are in Amsterdam tonight and heading towards Badplaas tomorrow.
[noteblock] I have a whole new respect for cyclists! [/noteblock]
We added new pictures to Kim’s Gallery for a catch up over the last 2 weeks. enjoy 🙂