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After my amazing stay in Kuruman, I am on the way to Kathu, a short 46km trip over two hills and then into the red dust that covers everything in Kathu. The massive open cast iron ore mine here makes everything dusty. Even regular coloured dust is covered in red dust.

Kathu has exploded since I was last here. There are so many houses now, and shops. It is like a little city. And everything is so neat and traffic flows, smoothly. It is almost like someone sat down and planned it…

I spent two nights in Kathu. I had my second newspaper interview and caught up with more friends from school. We braaied (Obviously) and then on the second night – it was half price sushi and red wine. Needless to say we went hungry and thirsty. I have to interject here that braaing ‘too often’ is not a thing, it is like saying the music is too loud – no such thing!

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The mining truck at the entrance of Kathu

Upon my departure from the neat and well oiled machine that is Kathu, I saw something that brought tears to my eyes. A beautiful sight that made me loose all control, and I nearly drove into oncoming traffic. I did not hesitate to spend my last R85 on it, I do not know when I will have the chance again… A breakfast buffet!  Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the morning, and in my top three meals of the whole day!

Despite my praise of the little town, I did get lost trying to find my way out of town, but I managed to get out and on the road to Hotazel. And into the wind… it was like it was trying to blow me back to Kathu. I was planning an 80km day to get to Black Rock, but at this rate I might just pull in and sleep before I get 20km out of town.

I stopped at what I thought was a guest house, but it turned out to be housing for contractors that work on the mines. Luckily no one was home, except a cat. So I filled my water bottles and left before someone came home.

As I mentioned I was planning to make it to Black Rock, but I stopped in Hotazel for a pit stop at another old school friend that I have not seen in eleven years.

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I caught the sun filling a bucket up with rays of light.

I am so glad I stopped. I got to catch up on eleven years worth of stories and had a delicious late lunch. We chatted for a few hours and then I got a lift to the front door of my planned stop – which is a guest house that was arranged for me by friends in Kuruman. Amazing how there is always provision, sometimes we have to reach braking point, but there will always be help and provision waiting for us, if we ask and believe.

At the Guesthouse I am staying at in Black Rock – Mecca Guest House – I had the most delicious Oxtail for dinner, and Malva Pudding. I met some travellers from The city of gold and was blessed with two audio books to keep me company on the road.

From Black Rock, I have a short 21km back track to the offramp to Van Zylsrus. And then… at some stage, the end of the tar for a while. I am entering the Kalahari. The Wild West of South Africa

The great thing about today is that I have three pit stops that will surprise me. There is a wedding somewhere near Askham and a few of my friends are going to be there. So they have all decided to drive this route to see me along the way.

The first stop is the photographer, go check out his work: Koringkriek Productions. Seriously, it is amazing! We stopped under a Camel Thorn tree and had sweaty hugs and greetings. And then a quick photo shoot. I can now officially say I have had a photo shoot. I did not like it very much, the photographer kept yelling at me to look at the road and act natural. No fun at all…

As the guys drove off I was a bit envious, they had an aircon, and did not have to pedal against the wind. But I did not stay sad for long, soon I had my next pit stop…

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Thanks Koringkriek for the photoshoot.

As I pedal down the long and windy road in the hot Kalahari sun I am making progress, but not as much as I want to. The next vehicle pulls up next to me and we find a tree to rest under. My next pit stop.

The owner of Kalahari Cottages in Hotazel – my friend that took me to Black Rock after my rough day cycling from Kathu. I devoured an energy drink and a glucose sachet to fight off the weariness while we rested a bit under the shade of the big thorn tree.

Some more sweaty hugs and I was off again to get to my stop for the night. But not before I have my last surprise pit stop for the day.

It is the TMNT guy from high school. I did not recognize his bakkie, so when I saw the bakkie slam on brakes and make a U-turn, I though I was in trouble. This is the Wild Wild West of South Africa after all.

It was a great day despite the wind and heat, mostly because of all the familiar faces, and what followed made it one of the most random days of my life. But more on that next time.

For now I need to start wrapping my head around the fact that I am on a bicycle in the Kalahari Desert.

 

 

 

 

 

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