23 to 25 October 2020 – Tour de Pilanesberg Wilderness 2020
This year I decided to make a rod for my own back, and extended the TdPW cycle tour in the Pilanesberg to 2 days. Saturday and Sunday! Saturday, long before dawn, after serving coffee, muffins and rusks at the camp fire to the cyclists we made our way to the start. All bikes had been loaded onto a bike trailer the night before to get as early a start as possible. Thanks Ellie Bennett and James for bringing the bike trailer to the Park! As the sun came up the chopper landed at the start to collect Steve and check the route. The chopper is there for the safety of the cyclists and animals. Ray Steyn who assists us free of charge every year is an avid conservationist and bush lover too.
A vehicle rides ahead to scout the area from the ground, and a number of support vehicles follow including ER 24 that volunteer for the event. Thanks Werner for making it possible. Much paperwork has to be filled in for security and insurances. This is done for us each year by Elize and Garry Needham of Core Services. These are 2 amazing humans! Thank you both. 24 cyclists participated this year which was a really great, manageable number. Remember that this is a tour. So cyclists stop to view sightings and share info about the park.
We also have refreshments stops where we feed the cyclists as much as possible so they cannot race away to fast! Thank you Kwa Maritane and Bakubung Bush Lodges for the ice and water and also for the awesome prizes! Thanks Eugene for your voluntary assistance and our the tour. Thanks Grant at Ivory Tree Bush Lodge for the donated cold drinks. This year our Operational manager for the event, Chris Stafford, and his daughter Jess, participated as well. As well as managing all the operations. You rock Chris. Play in words not intended. Well done Chris. A beautiful morning turned into a scorching day but everyone rode like legends!
Species seen by cyclists for the day:
White rhino, elephant, cheetah, brown hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, tsessebe, kudu, red hartebeest, impala, springbok, baboon, steenbok, loads of birds – great day of riding!
It was hot and it was tough, but you could tell by the smile on their faces that these cyclists were loving every minute of the ride. To express how I feel when I see this, is impossible. My heart is so warmed and I know it’s worth all the frustration, stress and sleepless nights! My right and left hand, Cathy du Toit, has so much understanding and patience with me. I cannot thank you enough for that Cath. The cyclists completed day one at the Bathlako picnic site on Moloto. Thanks to the Makanyane Volunteers for lunch. The worked away in the the hot, sweatysun with no complaint! Awesome chicken burgers were devoured by all after the finish of day one. Thank you kindly Meatworld Rustenburg for donating the chicken and wors for the 2 days. And so last minute!
Thanks to Fops Sediba for carting ice and cold drinks for me! All bikes were loaded and the cyclists took the game viewers, so kindly donated by Mankwe Game Trackers, back to camp. They then showered and some went for a leisurely game drive with Tarryn Rae and Greg. Thank you Greg and Tarryn for your kindness and volunteered time on Sat. Thanks MGT for supplying the game viewers! That evening we were all served up a selection of not 1, but 5, deliciously different potjies! Thank you Martin and Lizette Lotz and CJ Vorster for donating dinner. Thanks to Tracey Andrews and Adla Da Silva for the desserts! Thank you to Pilanesberg Management for allowing us to host this event. Thank you to the Rhino Protection Unit and K9 for being the safe wall for the cyclists! Thank you to Copenhagen Zoo, Charlotte Marais for being the rock that I can depend on. Also to Steve for believing in me and doing all he can to make this work. Chris, thank for assisting me in making this 2 day event happen. I cannot do it without you. Thanks for the meticulous attention to detail and consideration of everyone and everything. Thanks also to the Park Technical staff for cleaning, bringing wood and water for the event! What a day and what an experience.