Planning a long trip from Germany to South Africa is not straightforward and we had to solve several issues. For example, avoiding dangerous countries and war zones, bypass high mountains, lakes and seas. We aim to explore two continents, Europe and Africa and hope to cover a distance of about 20 000 km. The following explanation reflects our planning from 2016 and the details will most likely change as soon as we hit the road.
The countries we will bike through from start to finish are: Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa. We will spend roughly 8 months in Europe and 14 months in Africa.
In Europe our goal is to climb as much as possible along the way, so we planned our way along several famous climbing crags: Osp, Paklenica, Omis, Meteora, Leonidi, Kalymnos, Olympos and Geyikbayiri. However, we hope to find more smaller and unknown climbing crags along the way. As we do not want to destroy our legs right from the beginning, we will not cycle over the Alps, but take the train through the Alps from Böckstein to Mallnitz. We will follow the Adriatic Coast to Greece before we take a boat to Turkey, which we will cross from south to north. In total we will cover a distance of 4000km in Europe. Unfortunately, the political situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria, prevents us from biking this part and we plan to take a plane from Istanbul to Cairo, which brings us directly to Africa.
Africa is huge! Don’t be fooled by most maps, which under-represent the size of this continent due to projection effects. Each map needs some kind of projection to present the round earth on a flat map. Lots of maps (also our map on this page) use the Mercator projection, which has several advantages, especially for navigation. However, it does not conserve size and shrinks sizes close to the equator. On a Mercator projected map, Greenland and Africa have about the same size, even though Greenland is actually almost the same size as Sudan alone. Our trip in Africa will be 4 times longer than in Europe and we plan to cover a distance of about 16 000 km. Our focus will also change, away from climbing to more biking, sight seeing, and we also hope to enjoy lots of wild life.
Starting in Egypt we plan to go south along the Red Sea and then cross Lake Nasser, which is created by the Aswan dam. Currently, this is the only chance to cross the border between Egypt and Sudan. In Sudan we will follow the Blue Nile to the capital Khartoum. From there we will cycle to the mountainous country of Ethiopia, where we will visit the Simien Mountains. We try to skip the capital Addis Ababa and go directly south to the Omo Valley and Lake Turkana, where we will enter Kenya. At first, we will not stay long in Kenya but go west into Uganda where we plan to visit the Mountain Gorillas. Further south, we will visit Rwanda before we close the loop around Lake Victoria with a stop over at the Serengeti in Tanzania – just in time for the wildebeest migration. From there we will do a small detour north again into Kenya to go to Nairobi and Mount Kenya, which we hopefully can climb.
Passing Kilimanjaro on our left, we will go through Tanzania to the Indian Ocean and be a lazy tourist at Zanzibar. Our next step will be Lake Malawi. From there our direction changes from going south, to going west and we hope to cross through Zambia, the free-roaming elephant and lion country of Botswana where we plan to stay at the Okavango Delta. From there we cross Namibia to end up at the Atlantic Ocean. From there we go south again through the deserted lands of Namibia into South Africa all the way to Cape Town. Our last stretch will be the Garden Route to Durban, where we will meet up with Tanya’s family and friends.
This only reflects a very short version of our plan and we will most likely change details on the road if we learn more about certain countries and places to visit.
Did we miss your favorite spot on the road, or shall we come by and visit you? Send us a an e-mail, or leave a comment!