There was something both ceremonial and strangely underwhelming about seeing our first poached elephant carcass. Approaching the scene of a crime one expects a certain furore, tickertape, cameras and a number of people telling you to move on. This particular type of criminal act has been significantly glorified in my head through the last few months, owing to our constant exposure to thoughts and conversation on the matter, however as Godfrey the Zambian Ranger led us around
We’ve just come to the end of 6 days in Liuwa Plain National Park. We had two objectives. To film for Time and Tide Foundation, a short promotional film highlighting their educational community outreach programme, and to film frontline anti poaching rangers. These 6 days took us to Kalabo Secondary Schoool, Munde Primary, to interviews with a number of Zambian Wildlife Police Officers, scouts on the ground in the bush and interviews with two convicted poachers in Kalabo Jail.
Hurtling through a forest on top of a Landrover, ducking and diving out the way of the branches overhead, battling fiercely not to get thrown off, was not how I pictured arriving at our second filming location. Yet as we have discovered with almost every part of this adventure thus far, nothing normal can be expected. During our time at Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) we made it through a 4 hour anti-poaching patrol in shorts and flipflops; darted and recovered one of the most
As I sit in the back of a Land rover Defender whistling through Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, there is no better time to reminisce on what has happened over the past week. We’ve seen three countries, fought off baboons, interacted with white Rhinos and visited one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The River Zambezi is a force of nature and whilst crossing it on a rickety old iron ferry crammed to triple capacity you get a terrifying feeling that the whole thing is going
“Hey mate, how are you?!”, declaims Johnno with tremendous excitement, racing down the hill to greet the first fellow cycle-tourer we had come across so far. “Where have you cycled from? How long have you been on the road?” “8 Years. I started in New York in 2009. How about you guys?” replied Mike, without a hint of arrogance or pride. …(silence) Humbling experiences come ten a penny when you are touring through Africa, from facing off with bull elephants, to being out manned
After 9 days of continuous riding we’ve arrived in Francistown. Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana and is a bustling metropolis compared to terrain of the last 3 weeks. We’ve now covered over 1,000km and a lot has changed since leaving South Africa. Trucks lined both sides of the road for miles before the border crossing. Their cargo visible and for once not rattling past us in a blur of fumes and noise. Tarred tree trunks piled up in the cargo bays to be used
Since leaving Balule we have cycled our way through mountains, rainforest, desert and African savannah to find ourselves 40 km away from the Botswana border. It has been some of the toughest cycling of the trip so far. Cancel that. It has been some of the toughest cycling of my life so far. Our typical day starts with Johnno bounding round the camp / room / grass or wherever we have managed to locate an area to sleep the night before. He tends to do this around 6am. Normally
It’s hard to believe that we’re already two weeks into this ludicrous trip across Africa and have already experienced so much. From interrogation rooms in Johannesburg airport to Charlie driving his first anti poaching patrol, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least. Our first evening in Balule was slightly restless. Having heard that Craig, the Warden, had woken up to a fully-grown male lion licking his bed the week before and that Will, the project manager
A hell of a lot has changed since we wrote the last blog. For a start we began to cycle downhill for the first time, I’m therefore spending far less time toiling at the back of the group, coming up with elaborate excuses as to why my bike is definitely twice the weight of everyone else’s. More importantly, we have started the documentary in earnest, and it really feels like what could easily be seen as a fool’s errand might actually come together to create something special.
For 6 months it’s been impossible to visualise what the first few days of this trip would be like. They’ve been the longest yet shortest, hardest and funnest few days. Day 1 The journey started on the R555. A busy tarmacked one lane artery flowing into the East of South Africa. We quickly discovered it wasn’t the ideal place to be cycling based on the fact that it’s a major trucking route to the heavy industry of Steelpoort, and quarries of the surrounding area. The alternati