The Cairo to Cape Town route has been a popular cycle touring route for as long as cycle touring has been around. The vast majority of people choosing to ride the eleven thousand odd kilometres down the length of Africa, between Egypt and South Africa choose to do it at a leisurely pace with time to immerse themselves in the culture of the countries they visit along the way, whether they are riding as part of an organised tour like the Tour d’Afrique or as a private adventure. However, there are a select few who choose to race 11 000 km from Cairo to Cape Town.

cairo to cape2015 saw the Cairo to Cape Town World Record topple, not once, but twice in a nail-biting race for the Guinness acclaim. Keegan Longueira, a 23-year-old South African, broke the record of 70 days which had stood since the Dutch rider, Robert Knol set it in 2011, by a massive ten days. However, even as Keegan rolled into Cape Town, Scottish adventurer, Mark Beaumont, was hot on his heels. Mark had experience on his side, having already set the World Record for the fastest cycle around the world, which stood him in good stead for the record attempt. Mark averaged 257 kms per day, spending more than 10 hours in the saddle every day to smash the record in 41 days 10 hours and 22 minutes. This is still the official Guinness World Record for a male riding from Cairo to Cape Town, the record does not differentiate between supported and unsupported attempts as this is too hard to regulate, Robert, Keegan and Mark all rode unsupported.

In 2016, a group of 5 cyclists, Team Carocap, set off to see if they could break Mark’s record as a Team Time-Trial, this was a completely supported attempt and they rode with a support crew, comprising of a mechanic, film crew and the works in two backup vehicles. The team, originally meant to be made up of 6 pro- and ex pro-riders, was whittled down to 3 by the time they reached Cape Town, having lost the first before they set off, the second in the South of Egypt and the last in Zimbabwe. The 3 remaining riders finished their mammoth ride in 38 days, just 4 days faster than the unsupported and solo rider, Mark Beaumont.

cairo to cape

Later in 2016, there was some controversy when Michael Strasser, an Austrian former triathlete, completed the Cairo to Cape Town route in only 35 days, but the record was never accepted by Guinness as his effort was queried by the Carocap team who claimed that his power output was constantly too low for the speed he was managing. There was not enough evidence to prove the record one way or the other.

Throughout this ongoing battle for the Record, there has not been one woman’s attempt (many women have cycled the route, with plenty riding it solo, however, Guinness has plenty of regulations and will only accept a time of less than 70 days for it to be recognised as the Women’s Record), however, Cape Town’s very own Tegan Phillips is currently in Cairo finalising the final arrangements for her Cairo to Cape Town Record Attempt. Tegan will set off to ride the 11 000 km back home as soon as she has been granted permission to ride through Egypt by the powers that be.

cairo to cape
If you would like to follow Tegan as she makes history, you can find out more here: