When Robin Kierstead travels, she expects to enjoy the journey AND the destination. That’s why, when drawn to Africa to see the animals, the Victoria Falls to Cape Town itinerary clinched her decision to travel with Renedian. (Note: This trip is usually run from Victoria Falls to Cape Town but the trip Robin was on ran in reverse.)
“Prior to this trip, I rode with a group through China and Tibet to Everest base camp. The roads were beautiful and it was an adventure, but the whole trip was really long riding days, go to bed, and repeat. That left no opportunity to get immersed in the local culture and see the sights without feeling rushed.
“Renedian’s plan to have us at our daily destination by mid-afternoon, with opportunities to pull over and see things during the day, fit what I was looking for.”
Robin didn’t hesitate to join a group where she’d be the youngest and possibly the only single person. “We have shared interests when we show up for these trips. Something in common inspired us or drew us to this time. For starters, if you’re going to spend a month riding, we probably have a shared love of riding.
“We visited Africa during the spring when everything was starting to bloom. Orchards and vineyards stretched as far as the eye could see. Vineyards were beginning to leaf and the delicate fragrance of apple blossoms permeated the air. In the evening, we enjoyed previous years’ harvests of wine or cider.
Then there was the eye-opening juxtaposition soon after crossing the border into Namibia. “There we were on expensive motorcycles, staying in exclusive hotels, and having paid significant money to be there. We’d just passed acres of manicured vineyards surrounded by stone fences. Right next to them were the townships housing workers, in homes built of corrugated steel.
“Also, I’ve never wanted for water. Being so drought conscious was a new experience, especially once we got into dust bowls out of town. How do you eke out a living, let alone survive?
“Pulling into our accommodations near Sossusvlei after riding through desert and sand was like arriving at an oasis. Hosts greeted us with specialty cold drinks and a cold towel to wipe our faces—the greatest towel and apple juice of my life!”
One of Robin’s most impactful memories came from Botswana. “We’d been seeing more and more wildlife hanging out at the side of the road. Elephants would be standing there and ostriches running erratically alongside. But when the giraffes started running with us, it was awesome in the true sense of the word. They float along as they run. Tears flowed inside my helmet, prompted by the pure beauty of the experience. We all relived those moments soon after at a regularly scheduled stop.”
Robin’s interest in riding ignited during her university years after a friend took her for a ride on his sport bike. It then awakened an interest in her parents. Both learned to ride after she did and the three often travel together.
“This was the first group trip without my dad. He’s busy getting fit and organized so we can go to Mongolia in 2021 with Renedian.”
Photo credits: Robin Kierstead