The E-powering 7-Rivers Journey of Discovery reaches the Kunene!
During his journey of discovery, Steve Galloway stopped at Gondwana’s Palmwag Lodge. Photo: Ron Swilling
Having ridden 2120km on his e-bike, Steve Galloway has reached Epupa Falls on the Kunene River, the halfway point of his journey. Steve’s journey to promote e-powering (e-mobility and e-learning) and to celebrate the country’s impressive conservation status of having 47% of its land under protection began three weeks ago on the Orange River. He has had to battle with headwinds, heat and rugged terrain along the way, yet has remarkably kept his calm composure and relaxed attitude throughout. Steve sailed into Omarunga Epupa-Falls Camp as if he had been out for a Sunday ride, something he admits he could never have done on a normal bike – highlighting the potential of e-bikes for use in rural communities in the future.
Besides promoting the Namibian-assembled Suncycles e-bikes, which can be used as ambulances, game-guard vehicles and taxis, and for transportation and waste disposal, an important part of his journey has been to identify conservancies along the way which require assistance. While he breaks the trip for board meetings in Windhoek, before resuming the journey from Epupa to the Zambezi Region in July, he will provide feedback to the newly-formed Community Conservation Fund of Namibia and to all the organisations that have expressed interest in the trip to ascertain how best to offer assistance. He will also engage with corporates for support. Steve says that connectivity is the cornerstone to everything, and hopes that MTC’s ‘081 for everyone’ programme and some of the proposed 500 new cellular towers will find their way to the areas where he encountered little connectivity and scanty 3G internet connection.
Cycling alone and enjoying the spectacular scenery around Palmwag Lodge. Photo: Ron Swilling
Meeting the Herero ladies at the Ugab River. Photo: Ron Swilling
At his halfway point at Epupa, Steve calculated that he has spent eighteen days and 95 hours on his bike and has averaged 115km a day, sometimes cycling up to eight hours. The maximum distance he has cycled in a stretch has been 174km from Rosh Pinah to Klein Aus Vista, also the most difficult as he fought his way against a headwind that reduced his speed from an average of 22km/hour to 16km/hour and included the highest elevation difference of the entire trip at 1000m in a 36-kilometre climb.
Along the way he has met Namibia’s friendly people: the Topnaar along the Kuiseb River, the Damara along the route from Uis to Palmwag, Herero along the Ugab River and Himba from Opuwo. On the last stretch he had a short stint as a taxi driver when a man flagged him down north of Opuwo for a lift to his village. Further north he offered a man in traditional Himba garb a spin on his e-bike.
Offering a man a lift to his village. Photo: Ron Swilling
The Gondwana Collection has hosted Steve at their lodges along his route and provided regular Whatsapp and Facebook updates, and his wife Clare has been his sole vehicle support.The next leg of the E-powering 7-Rivers Journey of Discovery will cover the 1800km from Epupa to Ngoma, beginning on the 1st of July.
On the long journey from the south to the north of the country, Steve crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. Photo: Ron Swilling