Our goal today was to have fun, see where the wind would take us and to spend some quality time with the girls! After warnings last night at our riders’ meeting about elephants and possibly lions along our ride, all of us tried to get in with riding groups in the morning. I joined a large peloton, which pulled me through to lunch, where I ran into Kendra, Christina and Megan. I decided to join the ladies for a girls ride in the afternoon, and happily took a short post-lunch nap until they were ready to go! Our afternoon was filled with girls talk, laughing so hard it made it hard to pedal at the same time, and unexpected adventures..
The day was hot and we were getting tired when we passed a sign indicating a lodge with a swimming pool ahead. We biked up the gravel driveway, not quite knowing what to expect, and were happy to find the lovely Touch of Africa Lodge and be welcomed with open arms by one of its owners, Mandy. We quenched our thirst with cokes and juice, chatted with Mandy about the lodge and the local area, and had a wonderfully refreshing dip in the pool. Thank you, Mandy, for making us feel so welcome, we hope to stay a little longer next time!
Just a few kilometers down the road, we rode past a min-bus pulled over on the side of the road painted with ‘Just Married’ and full of young people from England and Africa still celebrating their friends’ wedding from the weekend. They were on their way to Kasane to see some wildlife. They offered us a beer, which we accepted and shared, and wished them well as they pulled away cheering.
We continued our ride a little more happily, cycling and chatting until we came upon Darryl, the big game hunter who was hired by TdA for a few days to patrol the road for animals so we could have some advanced warning. We decided to hitch a ride with Darryl, so we could chat with him about his work and to see the road from a different perspective. I sat with him in the front seat and we chatted about conservation in Botswana, hunting elephants, and what might lay ahead for us for the rest of our riding in Botswana.
We decided to hope back on our bikes at a refresh stop about 20km down the road. Matthias and Christiano were playing great music that got us dancing, and with renewed energy we pushed on for the last 30km. About 10km from the finish we picked up a few more ladies, and we arrived at camp singing songs and laughing about our day.