UPDATED August 19, 2019

BY Coby Werlin

IN North American Epic


UPDATED August 19, 2019

BY Coby Werlin

IN North American Epic


South Africans In The Great White North

Over the years TDA Global Cycling has sent almost 1,000 Canadians cycling through Africa, many of whom were visiting Africa for the very first time. We’ve heard all kinds of intriguing feedback from them about their adventures in Africa, but this article isn’t about Canadians in Africa, but rather about Africans in Canada.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Canada’s national animal was the mosquito.”

Colleen & Lezinda hail from South Africa & Namibia, respectively, and have been avid tour leaders throughout Africa for the past decade on hundreds of overland trips. TDA was lucky enough to have them support the most recent Tour d’Afrique and the inaugural West Africa en Vélo. For the next few months, they are helping out on the North American Epic.

Here’s their take so far on their time in the Great White North.

L: “In the beginning up North in Tuktoyaktuk, it was very hard to adapt, especially to the constant light; going to bed wearing eye patches at 9 o’clock with the sun still way up in the sky like it was high noon – that really messed with my senses. Each night’s sleep felt more like a midday power nap that just happened to last 8 hours – if you’re lucky – and a whole week would go by and you’d feel like only a day had passed.”

C: “It’s very beautiful here. I love all of the nature, and the vast amount of nature that there is. I love the density of the forest — we don’t have forests like these — they seem to stretch on forever into the distance in every direction, so lush, so green, and the mountains — awesome. One day I found myself covered in moss up to my ankles, it was lovely! (I love moss). And the smells along the road are so strong, especially in the more remote places along the Dempster and Alaska Highway; the trees, and the flowers, the rain, the air, even the road itself has such a wonderfully fresh scent to it.”

L: “I especially like all of the animals we’ve been seeing – well, most of them at least. I mean, we are very used to having wildlife all around us all the time – hyenas, warthogs, giraffes, elephants, that sort of thing – but Canada has so many new and interesting creatures, I want to see them all! Bears, moose, bison, elk, deer, eagles…even the tiny things that most Canadians don’t think twice about, like rabbits and chipmunks and squirrels, I find them fascinating, I want to photograph each and every one. We’ve had quite a few remarkable wildlife encounters so far, still waiting on a wolf, though.

L: “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Canada’s national animal was the mosquito: in Africa, you fear for your life over one or two mosquitos in camp, but up in the Yukon, they’re freaking everywhere! Of course, they’re not carrying malaria, but you still get eaten alive and it drives you absolutely crazy. I have a newfound appreciation for Africa’s few but deadly mosquitos.


North American Epic

Cycling from the Arctic Ocean to Panama City will take you through 9 countries and countless variations in landscape, culture, language, cuisine and...

C: “You can actually swim in the water here! I mean, of course you can swim in Africa, in fact that’s all you really want to do because the desert is always so boiling hot, you’d roll in a muddy puddle if you were confident that it wasn’t crawling with hippos or crocs. But these Canadian lakes and ponds and rivers — they are so clean, like, crystal clear, you can actually see where you are swimming. If only they weren’t so freezing cold!!”

L: “It’s been so nice to not have night noises way up here in the Yukon. In Africa, there is always something running or howling or eating all through the night, and you just have to sleep through it. Here, the night is so calm and peaceful, the only sound you hear is the wind, maybe some rain on your tent, and the person next to you snoring.”

C: “I love Africa — always have, always will. Africa holds so much beauty that is unlike anything else in the world. But we are of course travellers, and are so excited to be experiencing the Canadian wilderness and all of its inhabitants. I think I’m really going to like Montana, too, ‘Big Sky Country’ wooohooooo!!

5 Comments for "South Africans In The Great White North"

Woohoo colleen… keep it real my friend lotsa love Ruoo

Amazing ladies! Sooooo jealous! Enjoy every minute!

I really loved this post and the very vivid descriptions of te differences. Having just traveled with L and C in Africa, it was really interesting to get their perspective.

Leka! Lulu & Tjop!!! Enjoy every moment 😉

Hi to our favourite women that we had the pleasure to meet on the Arctic Spirit segment of our trip. So happy you finally got to see more animals than garbage bears and mosquitoes. We have been following Deb’s Blog blog so we heard about the rain. You two are terrific to think this is all fun. Looking forward to crossing paths with you in the future in Canada or Africa. And don’t forget the invitation to our cabin in Algonquin Park where the noisy loons might keep you awake. Miss you.
Donna and Steve

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