In our last post Eelco Meyjes was on the home stretch of his enduro ride from Cape Town to Victoria Falls to raise awareness for the orange-breasted waxbill; a tiny bird facing big problems. At that stage he had just 600km of the 3,000km left to complete but this was to be the toughest section yet.
Luckily, after riding 129km of this 600km stretch he had an absolute stroke of luck in a tiny village where he found a very good little guest house in the middle of the village. Then came the road to Nata and the first of the many elephant danger signs.
Nata was followed by two massive back to back 100km rides. Eelco needed to carry an additional seven litres of water with him, due to a lack of availability of fresh water along the route, along with his food etc. At one stage he thought the bike was going to break with all the additional weight.
The bike was extremely difficult to handle and then to make matters worse he came across some elephants blocking the road. Elephants in the area are aware of cars and trucks but not bicycles it seems as the one elephant decided he was going to go straight for Eelco.
Eelco tried to pass him five times but the elephant just wouldn’t budge, he just kept coming. Eventually a safari vehicle came to his rescue and shielded him by revving their engine to distract the elephant and Eelco was finally through!
After that he slept in an old deserted pump house in the middle of the 200km mega ride between Nata and Pandamatenga. At 2am there was a massive commotion with trucks stopping just outside the old pump house and blowing their horns because there was a herd of elephants crossing the road.
Then after a short rest stop, Eelco’s last night in Botswana arrived before crossing the border into Zimbabwe. “Mind the elephants, they will be coming from the left side after their morning drink at the Chobe river”, said the Botswana customs official to Eelco as he crossed through at 6:30am. Eelco even managed to sneak in some elephant and giraffe selfies before finishing his adventure.
Not long after Eelco had made it to his final destination – Victoria Falls! This time of the year the falls are at their most impressive with all the rain waters from Angola coming down the mighty Zambezi river. His epic 3,000km journey from Cape Town to Vic Falls complete and hopefully the beginning of a new life for the orange-breasted waxbill.
You can help with this conservation project by donating to the cause for the orange-breasted waxbill here:
Rare Finch Conservation Group,
Account number 1933198885
Sandown Branch 193 305,