STEPHANIE VAN DER PLANK
Two ambitious South Africans will embark on a cycling adventure from Cape Point to Kisumu, Kenya on 16 March.
John Saaiman and William Taute, both 24-years-old, aim to complete the 7000km journey through Africa in four months and then spend three months volunteering at the Maisha International Orphanage. They will not have a backup team and will be camping on the roadside for most of the trip.
The main reasons why they founded this project were to “invest in Africa” and “raise awareness about Africa”. They will be cycling through numerous small villages and plan to interact with the locals as much as possible.
Saaiman has a Masters in Architecture from the University of Johannesburg and Taute obtained a BCom Marketing degree at the University of Pretoria. They plan to put their acquired skills to good use by building and improving the Maisha orphanage. Saaiman and Taute consider it their responsibility to give back and invest their time and skills in a worthy cause and country.
According to Taute, the idea first came to him when he read an article about fellow cyclist Riaan Manser who travelled around Africa on his bicycle. Taute did not believe that it was possible but was intrigued by the adventure factor of it. He told Perdeby that he has always wanted to go into Africa and work on a social project. Neither Taute nor Saaiman have ever done anything like this before, but a confident Taute believes that the 17 years he spent in a boarding institution were more dangerous than anything he might come across on his trip through Africa.With the starting day rapidly approaching, Taute says that training is getting intense. The boys cycle for two hours every morning and do most of their long-distance training over the weekend.
When asked about the upcoming journey, Taute said that they are both “excited as hell”. They claim not to have any misgivings, apart from the likelihood of meeting lions and elephants on the road through northern Botswana.
They hope to travel 80km in 5 hours and 30 minutes each day. Their halfway point is Lusaka, Zambia but they also hope to visit some of Africa’s tourist attractions, such as the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, Zanzibar and the Rift Valley.
Taute told Perdeby that this journey is more than just a social project and adventure. “This is a personal journey where we will be challenged in every way. When your mind, body and heart are simultaneously challenged your soul flourishes,” he said.
Saaiman and Taute say that they are just two city boys cycling through Africa for a reason.
Their adventure will be documented on their blog (datingafrika.blogspot.com), Twitter account (@DatingAfrika) and Facebook group.