Ray Chaplin solo walk from Cape Town to Beit Bridge MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Ray Chaplin’s Epic Walk from Cape Town to Beit Bridge

What a day it was! Yesterday ended on a rough note. I walked a staggering 60 kilometers, got lost in Hopetown, and didn’t get a chance to put my feet up until after 11 pm. You’d think I’d take advantage of being in a town and sleep in, right? Well, my internal alarm clock had other plans. At the crack of dawn – 5 am – I was wide awake, although not exactly bursting with energy.

After fortifying myself with a hearty breakfast, I took my time getting organized. I also had a lovely chat with the kind folks running the Radnor Country Lodge, where I was staying. I must admit, I lingered a bit longer than expected, but it was my way of giving my tired body some much-needed rest.

Before I set off to Kimberley, I needed to make a few preparations. I strolled through the town, and when I saw Nectarine, it seemed like a peaceful place to have lunch. And boy, was I right! I savored a delicious milkshake (something I had been craving for a while) and indulged in an amazing burger. Feeling satisfied, I decided to give my contact in Kimberley a call. Luckily, they were passing through Hopetown and agreed to meet me in person for a brief chat.

As I leisurely made my way back to Radnor, where Tootsie was parked, I stopped by the grocer to stock up on supplies for the journey ahead. I made sure to grab some sustenance, including a delightful yogurt to enjoy with my muesli for breakfast on the road. I absolutely adore the combination of yogurt and muesli – it makes the meal so much more enjoyable!

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I made my way back to Radnor and took a break to fill up with water. The journey after that was painfully slow. I felt like I was barely making any progress. But then I came across a sign that said “Oranjerus,” so I decided to follow the directions and take a little time for myself.

When I arrived, I had the chance to have a lovely conversation with the family who runs Oranjerus. It turns out they know Charl and Sunel through the school. It’s amazing how small the world can be sometimes!

I continued my journey north and crossed the Brown River. I have to say, it definitely doesn’t live up to its name. The river was full of water and flowing nicely, which was a welcome sight. It was even more surprising to see patches of lush greenery along the banks. In an area dominated by dry, brown land and sparse vegetation, the sight of meadows and thriving crops was truly remarkable.

At the 10 km mark, I decided to take a break and rest under a tree for a while. Without my sunglasses, my eyes were feeling strained, so I was grateful for any moment of shade. It was a nice respite from the scorching sun.

The road had recently been resurfaced, but there were no lines painted yet. This made the other drivers even more useless than usual, and I had a few close calls. Luckily, my vehicle, Tootsie, is built for tough terrains and can handle being thrown off the road if needed!

After enjoying a few peaceful moments during sunset, I continued on my journey to reach my 20 km goal for the day. This would bring me to a psychological milestone of being only 100 km away from Kimberley. It’s important to have these little milestones to keep me motivated and prevent the daily grind from wearing me down.

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When I saw the sign, I knew I had achieved my goal for the day. I turned off onto the dirt road and found a suitable spot about 100 meters from the N12 highway. Instead of setting up camp right away, I decided to cook my dinner first. This way, I could give the road some time to settle and avoid any potential issues.

As I was enjoying my meal, a bakkie passed by. To my surprise, it suddenly stopped, turned around, and headed back towards me. A young guy got out of the vehicle and approached me. He explained that there was a hotel further down the road and that he had been sent to find me. Apparently, the people at Orangerus had informed them about my presence. How cool is that?

However, there was a small problem. I didn’t have any cash on me for safety reasons. But that wasn’t an issue at all. The young guy’s father just wanted to meet me, shake my hand, and offer his assistance. I was relieved.

So, I decided to go to the hotel and meet Jaco Snr. We had a long, long conversation before finally settling into the tent much later than I had planned. And that’s exactly why I’m writing this update in the morning.

I slept like a log and woke up to the sound of a crow right outside my tent at 5 am! Ugh, couldn’t he see that I was still asleep? Was he that desperate for company?

Anyway, I’ve had breakfast, had a nice chat with Jaco, and now I’m going to take a shower before slowly making my way back up north.

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Anyway, I’ve had breakfast, had a nice chat with Jaco, and now I’m going to take a shower before slowly making my way back up north.

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