Intrepid Zakie (23) is walking South Africa’s coastline – all alone

Zakie Odendaal in Jeffrey's Bay. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

ZAKIE Odendaal (23) has been walking the South African coastline solo (and unsupported) since September last year.

Zakie’s 3 000-kilometre journey began at the small diamond-mining town of Alexander Bay on the Namibian border and is expected to end once she reaches Mozambique, hopefully by the end of June this year.

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So far, she has walked 2 300 kilometres and still has between 700 and 800 kilometres to go.

The former freelance photographer from Lydenburg, in Mpumalanga (which explains the fantastic photographs on her Facebook page), has worked in Cape Town, Norway and Russia.

Adventurer, Zakie Odendaal, passing through Sunwich Port on Tuesday this week. PHOTO BY SHONA AYLWARD

Zakie said she is travelling ‘as light as possible’, with just her blue backpack which contains a small ration of food and water, a tent, a self-inflating mattress, a sleeping bag and a stove, all of which weighs about 18 kilograms.

It’s a remarkable journey for a young woman to undertake alone, but it is a dream she has had since the age of 17.

Southport couple, John and Ann Booth, met Zakie while on holiday at Coffee Bay, and invited her to spend some time with them, which she recently did.

After spending a few days resting at the Booths’ home, she set off again on Tuesday this week and the Herald managed to catch up with her at Sunwich Port.

“Every day of this journey has been amazing. Even the bad days turn out to be good,” she said, smiling.

Following my dreams has been the best choice I’ve made. I’ve met so many amazing people along the way. I have taken this trip day by day, so it is much easier than it looks. Life is like a mirror, if you face it smiling, it will smile back at you, – Zaki Odendaal

The free-spirited traveller’s journey has entailed crossing rivers, climbing hills, some bush-whacking and meeting some ‘amazing people’ along the way. “There have been challenges but nothing I can’t handle,” she said, adding that it is all about your mindset.

“Most people look at the negative – which is two percent – and forget about the 98 percent good. There is so much good but people only choose to see the negative.”

She added that everyone should go out and pursue their dreams.

“Each person has a dream, but most are too afraid to follow it due to the high risk involved. The risk is worth taking as you can fail doing something you don’t like, so why not try something you like. Life is not always as hard as it seems; don’t let dreams and goals remain that – go out and achieve them.”

Zakie Odendaal. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Zakie is an inspiration.

“Life is all about how you react to things, not forgetting that your reaction will, in turn, also have a reaction.”

She attributes her strength to God, who he says has kept her safe and been her companion throughout her journey.

So, why solo? Zakie said that she wanted to tackle this adventure alone.

“We are so dependent on other people to make us happy. We need to find peace and happiness in our own company as we can visit and spend time with wonderful people but we always have to come back home (to ourselves).”

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Talking about her safety, Zakie admitted that she has become streetwise. “I may not have the strength of a man, but I have the intuition of a woman and seven months of travelling is enough proof that anything is possible.”

Zakie remains tight-lipped about the plans for her next expedition later this year. “You will have to wait and see. All I can say for now is that it will be a ‘cycling with a twist’.”

So watch Z-space!


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Shona Aylward

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