It was not my intention to suddenly stop posting about the trip in blog format, but we ended up spending 3 months in Zimbabwe waiting to get the bike on the road. In that time we had periods of activity, including a couple of trips to Mozambique and a week travelling around Zimbabwe courtesy of someone lending us a car. But as you can imagine, that doesn’t exactly fill the time, so the rest of it was ostensibly waiting and Sofia took over the laptop to keep her entertained and it became hers for the rest of the trip.
I’d like to say that having sent the bike down to South Africa to the Ural expert there, that the rest of the trip became an effortless breeze through the deserts, bush and savannah, but sadly we were to have a further 5 more break downs. One of which whilst driving the bike back from South Africa, which caused a moment of travel crisis and I almost fast track the journey to its end.
Happily I didn’t, and with the continued support from Zimbabweans in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls (Victoria Falls hotel remains the hight light of the trip for Sofia) we finally managed to exit the country to Botswana, where we stayed one night before heading to Namibia.
After being rescued in the desert and once again receiving the amazing support of the local Namibians, once in Windhoek I decided it was time to stick to the tar roads for the remainder of the trip. The words of our Zambian friends that the bike was over loaded definitely had meaning on the rough corrugated roads that make most of the routes in Namibia, and the bike was clearly struggling.
Crossing into South Africa was not to prove an easy task as a current immigration law requires all children under the age of 12 (or 13, I’m not sure) to have extra documentation. Thankfully the British Consulate in Namibia who had been our host in Windhoek managed to put together a document that met the immigration need and finally we found ourselves in the final country of our journey. Sofia was so happy to be in the first world once again. She had enjoyed the trip, but she missed home comforts.
We took our time reaching Cape Town, and had a wonderful ride in supported by the bikers of Yzerfontein. In fact the hospitality we recieved in all the way through South Africa was amazing, we had people contacting us and offering us a place to stay most nights and in terms of publications, we were front page of at least 3 local newpapers telling our story.
Finally we arrived in East London! and we did it on our own wheels – which was really the best bit. After countless break downs, it felt like nothing short of a miracle that the bike wasn’t sitting on the back of another lorry! But that was as far as I was going to go with it. With the help of the local autism organisation we were offered transport for the bike back to Cape Town, where shipping had been arranged. And just like that, 7 days later we were back in Blighty with the bike safely tucked up in a container to travel back to the UK.
I realise this is a horribly brief summary of our final months, the book (yes I have started working on it! ) promises to have a lot more detail to enjoy.