When he started his trip to the Netherlands in March 2020, he was 24 years old.
Fast forward to January 18 of this year, the cyclist is now 26 and has accomplished his Cape-to-Cap mission.
Niels Jansen’s first destination after leaving home was the North Cape in Norway. This is where the idea of Cape to Cape was born.
As he embarked on this journey, the Lowveld was not necessarily part of his plan, but when many flights out of the country had been canceled, he did not plan to sit still.
“I decided to do an extra tour through South Africa, following the Cross Cape and the Garden Route; then through Lesotho and eSwatini to the Lowveld.
With him having been all over the world, one wonders what characteristics of the Lowveld jumped out at him.
“What stood out to me about the Lowveld was the beautiful green and hilly landscape. Although I obviously didn’t cycle in Kruger Park, the denser forest and rivers made me feel like I was cycling closer to the wilder part of South Africa.
“Also, on two occasions, locals joined me for about 25 kilometers. As I usually cycle alone, it was a very nice experience.”
A few years ago, Jansen met two cyclists in Peru who were cycling across the Americas – he was inspired.
“The opportunity to explore the world on my own, with complete freedom and with very minimal impact on the environment, made me decide that I wanted to travel the world by bike.”
For people who can’t make the trip themselves, Jansen has been kind enough to document this amazing adventure on his website, cyclingaroundtheplanet.com.
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Here he shares many interesting statistics and experiences. As of January 17, he had three accidents, 10 days without a shower, 91 hot showers and 272 days of wild camping, to name a few. The longest distance he covered in one day was 202.5 kilometers.
Jansen left the Lowveld on Tuesday, taking the bus to Cape Town where he will fly to Portugal and cycle home from there.
Naturally, a two-year cycling trip is bound to be full of highlights and challenges.
“The great thing about cycle tourism is that there are highlights every day. Of course, there are absolute highlights like the fjords in Norway and the pyramids in Egypt, but the real joy lies in the little daily highlights.The wonderful view after you hike a long mountain pass, a stranger inviting you for a coffee, the wildlife you see.
“Challenges are an inevitable part of the experience. My passport was stolen in Sudan and people tried to steal me in Ethiopia. I almost got jumped off a mountain while I was camping. Strong, stormy winds shattered my tent.
In Zambia, I was terrified by tsetse flies, which have a terrible bite and drive anyone mad.
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Judging by his documented experiences, however, the jaw-dropping moments far outweigh the negatives.
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