The fastest human powered crossing of Africa – a world record attempt

On the 9th of October, 5 athletes from Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt and the UK will depart from Cairo in the shadow of the Giza Pyramids, heading towards Cape Town. They are aiming to set a new world record – the fastest human powered crossing of the African continent.


To break up the 10600km journey, the team will cover 300-350km per day, depending on the terrain and conditions, aiming to arrive at the foot of Table Mountain in under 34 days. Mark Beaumont (UK) holds the current record at 41 days 10 hours and 22 minutes.


The project is spearheaded by Nicholas Bourne, who has himself ran across Africa, from Cape Town to Cairo, 12 years ago, breaking the world record. He raised over $300 000 for disadvantaged children and hopes to beat that this year.


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Interestingly, instead of the expected robust mountain bike with pannier bags set up, they’ll be riding top of the range, ultra light SwiftCarbon composite road bikes – the same bikes you see ridden in major professional races around the world. The bikes weigh well under 8kg fully set up with a bottle of water. Owner of SwiftCarbon Mark Blewett has taken on the challenge too, not only to complete the event, but also to supply the bikes, in what surely is the most gruelling field test possible. “We’re confident enough to put our bikes on the line here – this is a true reliability test. When we’re done, we know they’ll survive anything.” Mark was born in Zambia and spent much of his childhood in Kenya, so his connection with Africa runs deep, further fuelling the desire to participate.


Each rider is expected to consume 15-20 litres of water and over 10 000 calories a day, which could pose a real challenge, as they’ll hardly have time to stop for lunch. The riders aim to complete the task in under 34 days, so there won’t be much time to stop for lunch. They’ll be camping along the road each night, after over nine hours of riding each day.


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Large scale planning is required to acquire fresh provisions for tired riders along the route. A full support team will be traveling in support of the guys, preparing food, drinks and a place to rest, making sure they can focus on the job at hand.” Blewett expects his bikes to hold out, however predicts that they’ll wear out up to 25 bike chains and 60 tyres. Brake pads? Probably none at all as they have no plans to slow down!


Besides the gargantuan athletic and logistical endeavour ahead, there’s also a noble cause at play too. The Carocap team has undertaken to raise funds for the provision of 1100 bicycles, supporting the visionary work of World Bicycle Relief and Qhubeka, and also Safari Simbaz – an initiative to unearth and develop talent in underprivileged children in disadvantaged communities in Kenya.


The team:

Nicholas Bourne (UK)
Mark Blewett (SA)
David Kinjah (Kenya)
David Martin (Zimbabwe)
Adham Mahmoud (Egypt)


Highlights of the route include:

1. Giza Pyramids & Sphinx
2. Nubian Desert
3. River Nile
4. Red Sea Coast
5. Lake Tana (Source of the Blue Nile)
6. Blue Nile Falls
7. Rift Valley
8. Mt Kenya
9. Mt Kilimanjaro
10. Victoria Falls
11. Kalahari Desert
12. Table Mountain


A bit more about the bike...


Rapunzel, Oct 09 2015 08:36

Best luck Mark!

Not only a challenge from a riding perspective but also for the backup team who need to arrange visa's and border crossings (which would take 34 days in itself for mere mortals)

Fat Boab, Oct 09 2015 08:44

A great marketing tool for Swift? Bikes and owner! Talk about profile!!



PS Isn't David Kinjah, Chris Froome's original Kenyan mentor?

Baracuda, Oct 09 2015 08:48

All the best guys, what a fantastic trip

Paul Ruinaard, Oct 09 2015 08:51

Hmm - crossing of Africa - go from Richards Bay to Port Nolloth and you have crossed Africa....





rock, Oct 09 2015 10:04

mad respect.

IH8MUD, Oct 09 2015 10:06

Swift should have used the Evil Twin and Detritivore  and only ride unpaved roads.

That would be the ultimate promotion for their MTB's 

BDF, Oct 09 2015 01:00

I know a guy who did this SOLO in aid of raising funds for surgery for kids with cleft palates:


Keegan Longueira broke a Guinness World Record when he cycled across the African Continent from Cairo to Cape Town in just 59 days. He did this and then rode in the Argus the week after he finished!


Check out his website at


He is an amazing youngster!

J∆kk∆ls, Oct 09 2015 01:19

I had the privilege of meeting Mark Beaumont on his final leg, at Mouille Point after breaking the world record cycling from Cairo to Cape Town in 41 days 10 hours and 22 minutes 


Good luck to Mark Blewett and the Swift Team! 

Stretch, Oct 09 2015 02:06

"will depart from Cairo in the shadow of the Giza Pyramids" thats not across africa....why not start from Alexandria? not to belittle the feat in any way...just semantics

HappyMartin, Oct 09 2015 03:26

I did it in 6 months. Beat that suckers!!!!! Hahahahaha. I guess some of us are just a bit slower hey..

Ossie NL, Oct 09 2015 03:54

A great marketing tool for Swift? Bikes and owner! Talk about profile!!
PS Isn't David Kinjah, Chris Froome's original Kenyan mentor?

Yebo is indeed Froomey's menor and Kenyan Olympian

EmptyB, Oct 09 2015 04:57

Big respect!

Matchstix, Oct 09 2015 07:46