THE one item Tanya Edwards (27) from Port Edward and her partner, Simon Bihr (31) from Germany didn’t leave behind on their Europe to Africa trip was their Italian espresso coffee machine.
It weighs half a kilogram and the couple say it’s the one luxury item they decided to lug around the world, as they can’t do without a good cup of coffee to get them through the day.
The couple left Simon’s home town, Aalen in Germany on Tuesday last week to begin their 20 000 kilometre journey by bike to Tanya’s home town, Port Edward.
Their two-year exciting journey, which they have dubbed ‘Rock, Road and Rhino’, will consist of cycling and climbing across Europe to Africa. They will also be using their journey to raise funds and awareness around rhino conservation and other endangered wildlife.
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Both recently graduated with PhDs in physics. Tanya, a former Port Shepstone High pupil was studying in Heidelberg in Germany when she met Simon and they have been dating for four years.
The couple said it’s the perfect time to do this trip, as they have their PhDs under their belts, no responsibilities like a home or children and are young and healthy enough to take on the challenge.
The entire trip will be done by pedal power with their equipment and luggage, such as a sleeping bag, fold-up cooker and tent, all carried in panniers.
“It’s certainly going to be an adventure, as we don’t know what to expect but we will be living very simply and, at times, sleeping under the stars,” said Tanya.
Simon said they are excited about the unknown surprises and the adventures that await them and appreciating the ‘small things in life’. Tanya added that they have no ‘time plan’; for instance, if they like a place they will spend some time exploring it.
“We have chosen a route that is safe but also off the beaten track, but we have planned it so that we are able to see the Serengeti wildebeest migration and visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda,” said Tanya.
They plan to spend eight months in Europe and 14 months in Africa – on the road, climbing and cycling their way south. They plan to spend Christmas in Cairo with the family.
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As they love to climb, they will take their climbing gear (an extra 15 kilograms) through Europe and then spend half the time climbing and the rest cycling and resting.
The ‘rhino part’ of their journey involves visiting wildlife conservation projects along the way. “It is through Africa we would like to experience all the nature, wildlife and culture of these countries. It will be an adventure which we can tell our children about one day,” added Simon.
Before they left South Africa for Germany they buried a treasure box ‘somewhere’ in Port Edward with homemade jam and liqueur and some letters from family members and themselves. “We hope to find it again in two years when we are back,” said Simon.
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