Pedal Power 500km Challenge Complete (Part 1)

Pedal Power 500km Challenge Complete (Part 1)

Jenny Wall / 5 min Read

Two intrepid Gandys team members have just returned from the bike ride of a lifetime – The Pedal Power 500km Challenge through the stunning countryside of ‘the warm heart of Africa’.

What’s more, Kea and Jenny raised more than £2,000 the support the amazing work of our partner charity Africa Vision Malawi (AVM) and the Gandys Funsani pre-school, where we also fund a feeding programme for the 2-5 year-olds.

Can you imagine sitting at your desk one day and then finding yourself riding hybrid bikes in the middle of Africa?

Here are some highlights from Jenny’s diaries:

Day 1: The Adventure Begins


Our journey started at London Heathrow Terminal 2. From there, we flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before catching our connecting flight to Lilongwe, Malawi. At the airport, we met Heather and Sam Palmer from African Vision Malawi, who whisked us away to our nearby accommodation. After dropping off our bags, we headed to Land & Lakes to get fitted for our bicycles. Despite our fatigue, our anticipation was palpable. We enjoyed a hearty dinner and retired early, eager for the days ahead.


Day 2: Hitting the Road


We got up at 4:45 am, marking the start of our first cycling day. After gearing up and fuelling ourselves with a big breakfast, we were driven to a safe starting point. We cycled through breathtaking African landscapes, stopping for a picturesque roadside picnic. Unfortunately, Keanua sustained a horrible fall off her bike. The Malawian roads have abrupt speed ramps and Keanua breaked at the wrong moment and was sent flying over her handlebars! We were soon surrounded by a crowd of worried and confused school children who had seen the accident unfold! Luckily, Keanua was okay but needed to be bandaged up by the only medical professional nearby (me!). Our ride ended in Dedza, where we explored ancient cave paintings and shopped for beautiful local pottery. Exhausted, we savoured a traditional meal of Chambo (a fish from Lake Malawi) and chips before heading to bed.



Day 3: The Long Haul


Another early start prepared us for our longest day of cycling. We zoomed downhill for 30km along Golomoti Road, the wind in our faces, before tackling a gruelling 130km stretch to Balaka. We cycled for over 7 hours and it was physically and mentally challenging. The spirit of the group really got us through the day as well as a delicious roadside lunch! We saw so much of Malawi, from the bustling street markets selling mice on sticks to beautiful rivers where locals were doing their washing. After 130km we thankfully got to stay in a stunning hotel by a vast lake, where we rested our tired bodies.


Day 4: Safari Adventure


After the previous day's marathon, we welcomed a shorter 40km ride to Liwonde National Park. The excitement was electric as we embarked on a water safari, spotting hippos, elephants, vibrant birds, and crocodiles. That evening, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and were mesmerised by traditional African dancing. We were in awe as a herd of elephants passed by our hut after dinner. They were so beautiful!



Day 5: Rest and Revelry


Our first rest day! We started with an early land safari, marvelling at warthogs, elephants, kingfishers, and more. After lunch, we transferred to Kingfisher Inn by Lake Malawi, where we enjoyed a relaxing dinner and settled into our new rooms. We spotted huge owls in the trees outside our huts and learned that owls are viewed as evil creatures in Malawian culture and if they land on your family’s roof it is believed that someone will pass away soon.


Day 6: Historical Insights


We were back on our bikes early, cycling 100km to Mua Mission, a historical village where Malawi's first Black Christian priest was ordained. We toured a museum showcasing the village's religious history and local tribes. The main tribe in Malawi is called the Chewa Tribe and they wear beautiful handmade masks during initiation ceremonies and celebrations. We saw a wide range of these masks in the museums and we actually saw a group of teenage boys wearing some on the streets! After dinner, we drifted into a well-earned sleep.


Thanks for reading! Part two will be coming soon so keep your eyes peeled.


You're helping us educate children worldwide with this purchase
Your Bag

Sorry, we couldn't find any products. View all products.