Old Legs Tour - Aussie Flag

Old Legs Tour To Kilimanjaro For Zimbabwe Pensioners: The Final Chapter

Old Legs Tour To Mt Kilimanjaro LogoThe Old Legs Tour 2019 has come to an end and all sixteen of the riders made it from Harare to Kilimanjaro – what an absolutely amazing achievement.

The blogs posted by Eric De Jong have been entertaining and humorous and I know I speak for all the friends of ZANE across the world when I say how much we have enjoyed following their often hilarious progress across Africa while at the same time been awed by the scale of their achievement.

There have been donations from everywhere and the final sum has not yet been tallied up, but we would like to say a special thank you to Mark Johnson who represented ZANE Australia and incredibly raised almost $10,000 for the work in Zim – fantastic achievement Mark on all fronts!

Thank you also to the many Zimbabwean Australians who contributed on Mark’s GoFundMe platform. -With things in Zimbabwe at an all-time low and the elderly struggling simply to survive on a day-to-day basis, our ability to continue sending help via the amazing ZANE teams on the ground in Harare, Bulawayo, and Marondera is more vital than ever.


The Third World as seen from the saddle -23rd July 2019.

The Old Legs Tour – pedaling to far off places to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners.

As explained to me at Allan Wilson, Sir Issac Newton, after getting hit on the head by an apple, worked out that every action is followed by an equal and opposite reaction. And thus epic parties are followed by epic hangovers and epic Old Leg Tours are followed by epic aftermaths. After our aftermath, I’m just thankful that Issac didn’t get hit by a falling watermelon.

The day after we reached Mt Kilimanjaro, the Old Legs Team hugged it up and we went our separate ways. After 28 days of the most intense together, it was tough to say goodbye to old and new best friends.

Old Legs Tour Team

Some of us headed up the mountain whilst others went to check out the beach. Mark and Sue went off on safari in search of shoebills while Alastair, Bill and Ryan rushed home to Zim in the Patrol. Alastair was rushing to meet grandson Maitland off the plane from Canada and Ryan to have further treatment on his bust foot.Al, Bill and Ryan haven’t quite got the hang of rushing. The first 750 km took them 17 hours of non-stop driving. In all the trip home took 4 full days, a trip made all the more interesting by having prudently sent their one and only bank card back to Cape Town with John MacDonald.

Before Hans and Jaap flew out of Arusha back to Holland, we bestowed on them honorary Zimbo status. Adam and Linda headed back to Zimbabwe in the white Discovery, sans a spare wheel which got busted in Southern Tanzania. Adam drove slowly so he only got bust 3 times for speeding. Alas, Adam and Linda punctured outside Tete and spent the day on the side of the road stranded, rueing Land Rover’s decision to go with 19-inch tyres. Steven Jacobz from the Tete Ferry Sun rescued them again but it took another day before they were back on the road. To while away the time in Mozambique, Adam had diarrhea and Linda contracted malaria.

Meanwhile on the way back from Tanga in the silver Discovery, Jen, Dave, Sarah, Reinier, and Gayle burnt it to a cinder outside the Tsavo National Park where Clint Eastwood hunted man-eating lions in the movie ‘White Hunter Black Heart’. Three fire extinguishers and just 5 minutes later, the silver Discovery was gone in flames. Thankfully Dave and Reinier were able to disconnect the trailer in time and save the luggage and passports. They were able to hire taxis to get the people and the trailer back into Moshi. Alan went home to Joburg for reconstructive surgery on his shoulder, damaged whilst filming a documentary on the perils of filming whilst on a bicycle whilst on a mountain. Without a Land Rover, Nik, CJ, Jenny and I explored Moshi in tuk-tuks before Jen and I flew home via Ethiopia. All’s well that ends well.

Old Legs Tour - Aussie Flag

Kilimanjaro with Aussie Flag

Until we got home to find out that President Ed has turned out the lights. No power for 18 hours a day, no petrol, no bread, no cash, stupid prices and no respite in sight – Zimbabwe is worse than my worst hangover ever. I wish Ed would go to Tanzania and/or Malawi and/or Mozambique for lessons on how to run a country. Or save the money on a Dreamliner and just speak to Nelson. Alas.

I wish I was still in Tanzania on my bike instead of in Zimbabwe. But we all have to pull together to help fix what has been broken and to make the country we live in a nice place to live. Pursuant to this and very cool, the Blue Hills Montessori School is twinning with Pleasant Ways Retirement Home and the kids will go hug it up with the old folk there and read to them, or vice versa.

Our huge thanks go to Finola Rayner in Vancouver, Neil Gardyne, Jurie and Helen Schoeman, Seona Cochrane, the Fisher family , Andy Louw Evans in Panama , Natalie van Hille, Rob and Cath Roper, Angela Schlacter, Penny McNamara and so many others for supporting our Just Giving site, which will stay open. With their help, the Old Legs Tour has been able to help pensioners in need in Marondera, (Borradile Trust and Ida Wekwako) Rusape (Resthaven) and Mutare (Eastern Highlands Trust)and in Bulawayo through the Bulawayo Help Network. For example, we’re currently helping an old guy with a long-overdue hip replacement op and yesterday we gave Dennis a warm winter jacket and a new 5kg gas bottle, complete with gas. Today we’re going back to give him antibiotics for a cold-related chest infection. We first met Dennis the day before we went on Tour, a government pensioner, living on charity in a tiny caravan full of huge holes and absolutely dreading the onset of winter,

The need out there is big, way bigger than our $100,000 fundraising target. Please help us smash that target. Ride with us this Sunday morning at the annual Komani Cross Country run, now with a bolt-on bike ride. Thanks to HAC for allowing Old Legs to hijack their event. It will be a lot of fun and will be kid-friendly. Please join us after for bacon and egg rolls, cooked by us, followed by a talk and slide show presentation of our Mt Kilimanjaro Tour. All the proceeds will go to the pensioners.

Continuing with my hangover analogy, I’m back on my bike for some hair of the dog. This weekend Adam and I ride to raise money for Hwange National Park in Oscar Bekker’s Thetford edition of ‘Pumping Legs for Water’. And the following week, Alastair and I with others ride the Blue Cross -500 km from Zimbabwe’s lowest point to her highest with 10800 m of climb in between- to raise money for the SPCA. Alas, needy causes are Zimbabwe’s only growth industry.

Please also help us.

Please help us get to that 160 K goal.  Monies donated help pensioners countrywide.

Help us support our pensioners if you can.

Please donate and make a difference!

Donate Now

In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149.

Egged on by my legs and bottom, Jenny has warned me no more rides, until obviously the next one. I haven’t the heart to tell her that already Bruce Fivaz is spending time with his Atlas, pondering ridiculously far off places to ride to. Watch this space.

In closing and on the subject of growth, Jen and I arrived home to chaos, in the form of a litter of 5 Great Dane puppies, including Chuck who is now part of the family. Great Dane pups would perplex Issac Newton. Having watched them eat, they’re bigger on the inside than they are on the outside, bar their bladders which are minuscule, way smaller than the contents. We await Chuck’s growth spurt with nervous anticipation.

Until next time, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can

Eric ‘Chicken Legs’ de Jong

To read all about their day to day trials, tribulations and triumphs of this amazing adventure, visit the Old Legs Tour Facebook page: