Like many good travel ideas, this one was conceived in a bookshop. After picking up the dinkiest old book South African Explorers at Hemingway’s in Hermanus, I decided to head for St Helena Bay, where Vasco da Gama landed on  November 8 1497.  

About 10 years ago I rode to Verneukpan with a remarkably brave woman. She was relatively inexperienced and we rode a lot of difficult sand tracks and mud to get there, but no matter how many times she fell off her motorbike, she got up again and soldiered on...

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