Chitimba to Mzuzu
The enormity of TdA is difficult to comprehend. It is almost simplistic to say that the tour crosses a continent. It is a bit more descriptive to say that it crosses a continent lengthwise. It is even more telling to try to sync the tour with earth’s seasonality. Many riders lament the heat of Sudan, only to be told by locals that it’s a bit chilly, and that they should visit again during the summer, “when it is beautiful and sunny.” Others curse Tanzanian mud and Malawian mists. Looking at the running course of the tour one realizes that it is no coincidence that we cross borders and lines of latitude when we do. A slight axial tilt can present quite the challenge in planning.
Old-school geography and itinerary tricks aside, I think the best way to illustrate the scope of the tour is to look at your own photos, from Sudan to Ethiopia and everywhere else, side-by-side. The disparity between and amongst the photos is more compelling than any discussion of miles, hours, or mando days. The landscapes and climates stitched together by TdA could have been transplanted from different planets. From the arid highlands of Ethiopia to the wastes of Northern Kenya and the moisture shrouded slopes of Malawi, many of the places we travel through are worlds apart. Even familiarity with biogeography and climate classification does not diminish the spectacle of Earth in flux. The only danger is becoming so wrapped up in the TdA bubble that one is fooled by what is often a slow gradient fade from world to world, fooled into thinking that each day is just more of the same.
photo – Hardy Grune