Kerry adventure junkie planning 12,000km solo bike tour through Africa

Tomas Mac an t-Saoir who is cycling the length of Africa for the Donal Walsh Foundation.
By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

A self-styled adventure junkie will have to avoid bandits and lions and endure searing desert heat on an epic 12,000km solo bike tour through Africa.

Long distance cyclist, Tomas Mac an t-Saoir, 23, from Ballyferriter, in Co Kerry, hopes to set off for Egypt later this month to start his unsupported ride from Cairo in the north to Cape Town in the south to raise money for the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation.

He raised almost €8,000 for the foundation in 2016 on his 4,800km solo unsupported cycle across the US. But he said he hopes to raise more this time.

The main goal of this cycle tour is to raise funds for the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation which was established following the passing of Donal and which continues to promote his anti-suicide #LiveLife message and help provide age-appropriate teenage facilities in hospital and hospice care centres.

Tomás, who often serves behind the bar of his family pub, Tigh an tSaorsaigh, in Ballyferriter, has been training for months on the Conor Pass and around Slea Head with Green Road Cycle Tours and hopes to set off for Cairo on October 26, ahead of his November 2 start date.

His planned route will take him through three deserts, including a 1,000km route through the Sahara on a mix of road and off-road dirt tracks and sandy paths, and on through 10 countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. He may reroute through Uganda and Rwanda too.

He will have to carefully choose his cycling times from Zambia through Botswana because of lions - cycling at night, early morning or late evening is not recommended - and he will have to choose his camping locations well given the threat posed by wild animals.

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