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Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel
Shenton Safaris

Date: 25 January 2013

Once back in the comfort of my dirty hotel room, I organized myself for yet another early start as we would be making our way to the next small town of Idfu.

The cycle to Idfu was probably the most beautiful it had been thus far. It was greener everywhere, the locals were super friendly, and the fresh food market en route looked incredible. The distance to cover was 116km and it felt as though it went too quickly. Cycling in a good group of strong riders, we kept a steady, strong pace and covered the distance in 4 hours. When we arrived at camp, the truck carrying the luggage hadn’t even arrived yet and so we just hung out, waiting for the support vehicle.

Tessa Melck cycles the Tour D'Africque

Idfu is a small village and we camped out on a dirt sports field, getting entertained by watching two local football teams play a heated match, local team Idfu vs Aswan… The TdA riders thought it was only fair that we support Idfu as we were guests of the town that evening, and to the joy of the locals, Idfu won.

Tessa Melck cycles the Tour D'Africque

After the sporting event, a few of us decided to explore town and see the market place. We gathered in a local tea shop and had some delicious freshly squeezed orange juice while watching Idfu’s every day happenings pass us by.

Tessa Melck cycles the Tour D'Africque

The night’s rest in Idfu was the worst we’d endured, because this sport field or open patch of dirt is surrounded by four mosques. Each of these is louder than the other, and when they sounded the first Calls to Prayer at 05h00 in the morning I started to pack down my tent and by 05h30 I was ready to go. It was still dark but there was no going back to sleep after the wake up call we got.

The ride into Aswan was long, and even though it was only 113km, I felt the wear and tear of the last few days of cycling. We have covered a distance of 1000km in 8 days and basically completed our first country, Egypt. All I could think was thank goodness I have good quality cycling clothing. So many riders on the tour are already complaining of saddle sores and rashes, which are a cause of major discomfort. I’ll be honest, I can feel my bottom is sore, but it’s more a muscle pain, which is probably because I’m not an experienced cyclist and now I’m developing new muscle I never had before. And so after being off the bike for a few hours I can honestly say it’s not so bad, with a few good stretches and massaging muscle gel onto the legs, I always feel perfectly ready for the following days distance. No discomfort from saddle sores or rashes at this point and I am pretty confident it’s got to do with the high quality clothing I was kindly sponsored by Cape Storm. Never going to look back, Cape Storm all the way when it comes to long distance cycling challenges, trust me on that… Tested and proven personally by my bottom as I trek through Africa. 🙂
CAPESTORM logo for sticker
Then Herbalife has also truly been a life saver. The food on the trip is delicious, don’t get me wrong – but sometimes I don’t like having a huge, heavy meal before bed or before a 165km cycle. So I usually have a delicious vanilla flavoured meal-replacement shake for breakfast together with a little bowl of porridge, and travel with a stock pile of fruit. This brings me to lunch comfortably, and sometimes you reach the lunch stop at 10h00. To have a heavy meal again so early after breakfast is not ideal, especially if you’ve still got another 70km to ride to camp, so for me another shake just mixed with water does the trick. Once at camp, I’ll be honest, the hunger really sets in for me. Instead of stuffing myself with sweet and salty snacks, which is what I crave as my sugar and salt levels are exhausted after cycling great distances in the sun, the rebuild recovery shake is my favorite.

It’s got everything one needs after a long days workout and stops me eating all the unhealthy snack stuff I crave. If I’m still hungry I have a shake midday to keep my energy levels up until dinner time, when all cyclists carbo load for the next days ride. Throughout the day, Prolong is my best friend and once I reach the lunch stop the convenient small sized Hydrate sachets are super handy and keeps those terrible dehydration headache away, which I so often use to get in the past. They taste so good, its easy to keep hydrated. Sometimes the taste of warm water, (… which reminds me of pool water) in your camel-pack isn’t what you want day after day. Staying hydrated and keeping your salt replenished is vital to your bodies performance. The Herbalife endurance 24 Sport Range has been spot on perfect for this journey through Africa. I don’t think it would have been possible for me to remain this positive and perform this well without the spectacular standards and quality of the products I have at my disposal.

A huge thank you to Cape Storm and Herbalife.

Tessa Melck

Born and raised on a farm near Velddrif on South Africa's Cape West Coast, Tessa Melck is made for adventure. After spending five years working on luxury Super Yachts in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, she has taken her life to the next level, competing in the 2013 Tour d'Afrique – a cycle race from Cairo to Cape Town, covering 11 different countries over a distance of 12,000 km in just four months. Adding heart to her endeavour, she is doing this in aid of the Make A Difference foundation, a charity that gives financial support to deserving young people to pursue an education. Follow her on Twitter, donate to her charity (, or find her on Facebook.