A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Sonja Hodgen

The Great Hybrid Walk

Planning the Route

semi-overcast 9 °C


"Hey Google." I ask. "What's a good walking route from Utrecht, Netherlands to Johannesburg, South Africa."
"The N1 Trans-Sahara Highway." says Google.

That sounds fantastic to me. I've always dreamt of going on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Trans-Sahara has an even more romantic sound to it. Then I look more closely.
"But Google." I say, "It seems like that route crosses a bit of sea." I zoom in. "Actually quite a lot of sea. It's almost 200km across the Mediterranean sea from Alicante in Spain to Oman in Algeria. If I did have to swim, the Straits of Gibraltar would make more sense. It's only a 20km swim to Tangier in Morocco. I'm also not sure about going straight through the Sahara Desert.
"Isn't this a remote walk?" asks Google. "Shouldn't you be walking in remote places?" Google has a dry sense of humour.

What's a hybrid walk?

Google is right, to a point, although a hybrid remote walk would be a better description. I'm going to walk the distance, every step of the way. Only, since it's a pandemic, or hopefully the beginning of the end of a pandemic, I'm going to walk that distance around Utrecht, where I'm staying, and map that distance onto my route to digitally see the sights, towns, beaches and remote places I reach along the way.

How long will it take?

I've no idea. Google estimated 2400 hours for the Trans-Sahara Highway but stubbornly refuses to suggest a walking time for the other route, via the B8 which will take us through Turkey and Egypt then down the Eastern Coast of Africa. That's the route we're going because it's a walk, not a swim and because there are some world famous walking routes along that way. I've already added the Lechweg Trail in Bavaria and am looking for more. And, while I don't want to swim 20km, a dip in the warm Indian Ocean and as many beach walks as possible is a definite plus for me. I also always wanted to swim in the Dead Sea which just happens to be on this route. I imagine too, there'll be deviations from the roughly planned route. I figure if I walk an hour a day from tomorrow, it'll probably take me about 10 years. On that day, the day I walk the last hour, I plan to walk the last 10 kilometres on Johannesburg soil. Hopefully it'll be March and the Cosmos will be blooming.

Let's go

It'll be fun. Maybe some friends want to join me along the way. Travel companions are always fun and Google is, well, Google.
"What's that Google? I was just saying you're a great travel companion."

Cosmos flowers at the Dom Tower in Utrecht

Posted by Sonja Hodgen 12:45 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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