Isabel Wolf-Gillespie reports on her progress since departing on her arduous 10,000km journey in May to raise awareness of the plight of Africa’s dwindling rhino population.
Today is the 23rd of June and four weeks have passed since my last Tattler Update report. It is hard to believe that since then we have experienced so much, seen such beauty and travelled thousands of kilometers!
Lloyd and Rappi took Mr. P our ridgeback to the State Vet in Vredendal on Friday afternoon while I was cycling along a dirt road from Lamberts Bay passed Strandfontein to Koekenaap. To enter into Namibia he needed to be vetted and paperwork needed to be issued to give him passage through. All went according to plan; Pula was vetted and received his paperwork with very little fuss. The only problem was that he needed to be through the border within 7 days from date of issue and we still had about 500kms to go to the border from Koekenaap. We also needed some time to make sure the bakkie was sorted to travel without problems into very remote Namibia and that we had enough water containers and food rations for days without civilization. Time was pressing… and I was under pressure to make up the distance faster than usual! On top of that I had to cycle and run into the strongest headwind I had to exercise against since leaving Durban, for three days in a row!!
But with some longer hours in the saddle we eventually made our way through Garies, Springbok, Steinkopf and through Vyfmylpoort to Vioolsdrif – border post into Namibia!
And then we entered without problems into the second country that was part of our Rhino Knights campaign. I had never been to Namibia but have heard so much from so many people that I was incredibly excited to have finally made it!
Namibia is beautiful, wild, and very remote and typical for a semi desert, we were welcomed by mild, warm days full of sunshine and cold, rough nights. “Big sky country” springs to mind when marveling at the seemingly endless views and space out there. The population is limited and since entering Namibia we have spent every single night in our tent under the stars warmed by a fire, our sleeping bags and a hot cup of tea/chocolate!
Our route took us from Vioolsdrif to Ai / Ais Transfrontier Park. A few days before, one little mistake of not changing into my running socks after cycling resulted in terrible blisters on the bottom of my toes like I have never had before. Every step after that was painful and I needed some special TLC and the hot, healing waters of the hot springs were exactly what I needed to soothe my sore feet.
The next day we moved further North towards Seeheim, passed the mighty Fish River Canyon, through the villages of Bethanien, Hermelingshausen, Maltahöhe to Büllsport.
After seven days, on the trot, and 900km behind us we decided to take a rest to visit the world -renowned Sossusvlei sand dunes in the Namib Naukluft National Park. The dunes in shades of red, orange and violet are unique and are dynamic and continuously being moved by the wind. Animal life on the dunes firstly seems sad and non-existent, but if one takes a closer look countless tracks of snakes, insects and other life become visible.
Two days later we reached Namibia´s most populous city, Windhoek! Windhoek has everything to offer to the hearts of tired travellers. In our case, a shower, washing machine and flushing toilets for starters!
The city bustles with restaurants, shopping opportunities, great people and some “HOME AWAY FROM HOME”! In the supermarket one can buy German pretzels, rolls and other products and wherever I go German is spoken all around me, which was a cause for great joy and laughter!
We will spend a few days in Windhoek to do talks at schools, create awareness through media for our cause, re-stock and get things sorted again. After travelling to Swakopmund we will then head further into remote and breathtakingly beautiful Damaraland and towards Ethosa National Park!
Stay well and happy until next time! Isabel
Information on dates for fun runs and the proposed route can be found on our website www.earthawareness.co.za. If you would like to get involved in the campaign, become a sponsor, or to show your support email us on [email protected]
Or follow us on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/RhinoKnights
Donations for as little as R10 ($1.13USD) can be sent via SMS to 48716 with the words RHINOKNIGHTS in the text field.