Cairo to Cape Town: Making it happen


Words & Photos: Keegan Longueira

Keegan Longueira

It would be silly to try and justify that a journey from Cairo to Cape Town, a distance of 11,500 km, begins with the first pedal stroke. It, in fact, starts months and years before that.

Emails connecting with people in Cairo.

Route adjustments.

Map of Africa, leg 1, on my wall in my bedroom.

My bicycle adventure from Cairo to Cape Town, set for 3 January 2015, started in a little coffee shop just down the road from the University of Pretoria. I sat munching on a sandwich while discussing the prospects of a world-record bicycle trip with a friend and a professional sports scientist, as both seemed to be very interested in my venture. Since that day, a lot has changed and people have come and gone, but the core of the project has remained.

As much as people believe in their diets, in nature, in people, I believe in God and felt a strong pull to this venture, despite the lack of interest. So I started planning a trip into the unknown.

In 2012, Robert Knol finished his Cairo to Cape Town trip in a record-breaking 70 days, so with this in mind I planned vigorously day and night.

I started off researching the towns that would possibly be stopover points along the way. This took me a month to fully map out the route on Google maps and after that, another month to work out the distances and daily targets for the trip.

My next challenge was to look for sponsors. I approached numerous corporates, only to be ignored. Just a sad little email in response would have nice, but being ignored sent a clear message that nobody has time for dreams. Down but not out, I pushed on and finally landed a couple of small sponsorships in my home town of Witbank. These loyal friends saw something that I had even begun to doubt.

Preparing for a trip of this magnitude can be quite overwhelming, and I was feeling pretty low when I considered the facts arouund my situation: My bicycle was broken and needed new tyres, I didn't have a visa, I hadn't paid for my flight, and on and on the list went. However, if there's one thing I have learnt is that the facts are never the end result. Faith, hope and hunger will always prevail.

If you wait for the conditions to be perfect, I'm afraid you will never pursue those dreams!

I only secured the money some 43 days before my departure. "To close for comfort," some would say. "Perfect timing," an optimist would say.

"Are you scared?" some people ask me, to which I sometimes couldn't answer as a rational person, so I chose to rather remain silent.There's an excitement in my heart and a deep feeling of peace towards what lies ahead. And as I continue to research the history of the places I will be travelling through, this excitement grows and I feel like the adventurer, like Indiana Jones, preparing to trek through ancient lands.

I think that many adventurers have lost that connection with themselves, due to technology, funding and the perfect team being the 'be all and end all' of an expedition. An example of this is the story about Scott vs. Admunson and who would get to the South Pole first. Scott had a massive team, the best technology and lots of funding. On the other hand, Admunson had prepared for a trip to the North Pole only to find out just weeks before leaving that another explorer had beaten him to the pole. He then turned his intentions to the South Pole, but did not tell anyone about his plans. He relied on what was inside of him and not was outside of him to complete a mammoth task with limited resources. He went on to beat the ill-fated team of British Capt. Robert F. Scott by just over a month. Often money comforts us, it taps us on the back and tells us that if something goes wrong you will always have 'me' to pull you through. This perhaps sets your mind on plan B, not fully accepting that your plan A needs to work.

I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead as I cycle through Africa, solo and unsupported. Thank you to my sponsors, Tri-Sec Autohaus, Timber City Witbank and Denbey Liquor Warehouse for your generous contributions to the trip - it's going to be epic!

Cape Town, a massive 11,500 km away from my starting point in Cairo.

More information
For more information on Keegan's Cairo to Cape Town cycle adventure, visit Look out for regular updates on his trip, in forthcoming issues of DO IT NOW Magazine.

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Welcome to the 21 November 2014 issue of DO IT NOW Magazine.