One adventurer, one bicycle and the offbeaten track from Botswana to Cape Point.
Story by: Bez Roberts
Hello Travel Ideas fans
My name is Bez Roberts. I am a professional musician from the UK.
I spent my early life in the north of England studying at Cheethams School Of Music in Manchester and later at the Guildhall School of Music London. My spare time was spent rock climbing, hiking and racing on my bicycle whenever possible.
I came to South Africa in 1994 after being offered the co-principal trombone position with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and also played with The State Theatre and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
I later became a member of South African kwaito group BOP (Brothers Of Peace) in 1997, our albums went on to sell millions and we toured all over the world.
And now, for the last 10 years, I have been a member of one of South Africa’s most loved bands, MAFIKIZOLO.
I have been lucky enough to tour and record with some of South Africa’s and the world’s greatest musicians, including Brenda Fassie, Hugh Masakela, John Legend, Bongo Maffin, Black Eyed Peas, Johnny Clegg, Pavarotti, TKZee, etc.
I’m also a resident horn player on the TV shows Dancing With The Stars and The Voice SA. Due to Covid 19, the arts and culture sector has all but come to a sharp halt and I, along with many of my fellow musicians have not been able to perform at all. They say that where misfortune occurs opportunity knocks and with that fresh in mind, I have decided to do an adventure through South Africa, way off the beaten track.
Although I was never quite good enough to become a pro cyclist, I never lost my love for the sport and I still regularly compete at a high level to this day.
Since 2015, my wife and I, together with my mother Sandra, have owned and run a guest house in Hartbeespoort and also a company called Hartbeespoort Cycle Hire.
Later this month I am going to attempt to ride my bicycle from Botswana to Cape Town, on my own! I will be totally self-sufficient, carrying my own food, water, tent, clothes etc on my mountain bicycle. I’ve done a few trips like this before and I regularly do overnight trips up the Hartbeespoort – Magaliesburg Valley, camping in the mountain sanctuary or staying on farms in that area.
Last year I rode from Cape Town, through the Winelands, through the overberg to Cape Agulhas and then back up the coast to Cape Town, an amazing 5-day ride. Nowhere near as long or extreme as this venture I’m about to embark on.
I’ll be riding mainly on dirt roads and tracks from Botswana, through North West, Northern Cape, Karoo and Ceres mountains, before reaching my final destination, Cape Point. I’ll be stopping in at small villages and towns all along the way.
I’m doing this trip for a number of personal reasons and will be documenting the whole trip with photographs, video and short stories about the places and people I meet on the way… and I’ll probably take an instrument with me to hopefully play with any musicians I meet along the way…