26 March 2023 – The Third World As Seen From The Saddle
I am so very excited at the prospect of seeing my second cheetah ever in the wild when we traverse Hwange National Park on this week’s Zimbabwe Safari Rally. I saw my first cheetah a lifetime ago, but he still sticks out in my memory. Well, his one spotty back leg sticks out ,and the tip of his spotty tail, while the rest of him was blurred and obscured by speed and thick bush. But I know he was a magnificent specimen. I mean it stands to reason that any cheetah moving that fast had to have been in tip top shape.
Charlie Taylor from Taylors Africa Safaris has assured me I will be able to upgrade my cheetah memories on next week’s Safari Rally. Charlie recced the route options through the Park last week and saw a pride of cheetah being chased by a pride of lion. Thankfully, the lion never caught the cheetah, so they are still mine to see. Apparently also on my menu for next week are roan antelope, sable, lion, leopard, big herds of elephant, even bigger herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, plus giraffe and bat eared foxes, and other animals too numerous to mention, plus much fun and much laughter.
Taylors Africa Safaris are the people behind the Safari Rally in which 166 intrepid adventurers will look to have fun, do good, do epic on their best ever adventure as they explore 500 kilometres of back roads between Bulawayo and Vic Falls, and through the iconic Hwange National Park in their 30-years-and-older automobiles. This year’s field includes Morris Minors, a Datsun 120Y, a Pontiac, a Nissan Sunny, a VW Kubelwagen, a Ford Capri, a very cool Toyota Will VI, plus a veritable fleet of Land Rovers, with Land Cruisers close behind, no doubt with tow ropes and banter at the ready.
Every year a portion of the ticket sales go to charity. And the Old Legs Tour is very honoured to have been chosen as this year’s recipients. We’re also very excited to have the opportunity to play a small support roll in the staging of the 2023 edition. The Old Legs teams are the designated cat herders at the very back, sweeping for the stragglers and strugglers. It is a job I know well as a cyclist. Any stragglers and strugglers in this year’s rally who will be able to take some comfort in knowing I attended Allan Wilson Technical High School and am fully conversant with the principles of Lefty Loosey and Righty Tighty. Unfortunately, I paid less attention to the lessons that followed. Although at a push, I can also make a wooden box with just my bare hands, and a fully equipped wood-workshop. NB The stragglers and strugglers will be able to take even more comfort knowing there are multiple teams of actual breakdown mechanics also in place and ready to deal with every emergency.
The funds raised on the Safari Rally will be used by our Medical Fund to save lives and change lives, including hopefully a 70-year-old gentleman badly in need of 2 new knees. His old ones stopped working some years ago and he has been in constant bone-on-bone pain since. He reached out to us last week. A former captain in the Corp of Engineers, somehow, he is able to smile and remain upbeat about life. I have no idea how. Because he doesn’t have a pension or any medical aid, our former army officer still goes to work every day to put food on his table, and to pay his rent, and how do you do that if you can’t stand let alone walk. Please help us help him and others by following the donate prompts below.
In closing, a big thank you to the sponsors and the players who supported our annual Old Legs Golf Day at Borrowdale Brooke on Friday. Much fun was had, and much good will be done by the Old Legs Medical Fund with the funds raised. I am envious of how much fun golfers have whilst out on the course, and at the gin tents, and am thinking of becoming a dual code athlete. We’re not allowed to enjoy gin on our bicycles. Well we can, but only briefly. And especially thank you to the Fisher family, Ken, Alastair, and Dido for organizing such a great day.
Until my next blog from the Hwange National Park, have fun, do epic, and help others if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.