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The Africa Tour - page 1 of 11

Preparatory stage (November 1989/March 1990)

"You are completely mad" said a friend upon being told of my plans for the next year, and shook his head in disbelief and many of my friends echoed his sentiments. I will trans-cycle Africa, from Bad-Soden near Frankfurt, Germany to Cape Town, South Africa. This was no spontaneous decision, of course, but was rather like a ripened fruit, the seed of which had implanted itself in my mind years ago. Whilst still a student at the film school in Hamburg, I had decided to, one day, escape the work routine for a longer period of time and gain experience on different continents. From a previous bicycle tour to Yugoslavia and Greece I knew that this was the ideal mode of travel for my purposes. The pace of, and reaction to a cyclist being much more conducive to a closer interaction and deeper understanding of the people and their countries. But I wasn't preparing for a trip through Europe this time, neither was this going to be a 2- week holiday, and so the preparation in itself took up half a year. Visas and immunizations, maps and equipment needed to be organized and not to forget, the spare parts for the bike, that were not going to be readily available at all times. Lots of planning, red tape and logistics that needed to be taken care of, bearing in mind that everything takes much longer than one expects. Another factor worth considering was of course the correct timing. I had decided to leave Bad- Soden early in March, then to cross the Mediterranean, from Sicily to Tunis by boat. It goes without saying that winter and spring are the only seasons that permit a crossing of the great Sahara dessert. The "Hoggar route" will take me through Algeria and then my envisioned path leads through Niger and Benin to the west coast then through Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and Zaire, avoiding the war-riddled Angola, crossing Zambia and Zimbabwe and finally to South Africa, reaching The Cape of "new" Hope. No doubt, there will be times when unforeseen circumstances force me to remain in one place for a few days, altered seasonal- and rainfall-patterns or unpredictable borders perhaps, leaving enough time, surely, to report back every 4 weeks or so from the dark continent. My bags are packed, the bike stands in the garage, geared up and equipped.15000km of true adventure lie ahead of me. I am ready to go…

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