Paul Edkins
Photo Credit: Paul Edkins

Nine months, an odyssey on two wheels and a journey of self later, and Paul Edkins cycle for the Black Mambas has come to an epic end! From the beauty to the struggles and everything in between, we caught up with Paul:


Global (17 April 2024) — It took months of dedication. Miles of strength. A bit of stubbornness and a lot of heart. But, Paul Edkins has successfully finished his mammoth cycle from the United Kingdom to South Africa!

What makes someone want to hit the pedals for such an overwhelming distance? For Paul who was born in South Africa, the journey was inspired by a longing for home, a big push to escape his comfort zone, and hope that he could raise awareness and support for South African superheroes and champions of anti-poaching efforts, The Black Mambas. 

Beginning last year, Paul’s days on the roads turned into weeks, and then a handful of months and then 9 entire months, as he and his wheels saw everywhere from Turkey to Egypt to Kenya and eventually, South Africa.

While Paul did not cycle the entire way across the pond (ferries and flights were necessary at times), he covered thousands of kilometres, and got to collect thousands of memories.


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There were many times when the odyssey was pure magic; an adventure of discovery, belonging and purpose. Paul got to fall in love with new foods in Turkey (with a special mention of künefe, a Turkish desert). And he got to fall in love with the hospitality of people—including a Nubian family on an island in Aswan. He also got to relish in the awe of two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and experienced climbing Greece’s Mount Olympus to meet Zeus (who Paul shares wasn’t in at the time).

And then there was scuba diving in Lake Malawi, and seeing a family of elephants with five babies up close in the Maasai Mara. And drinking fresh mango, avocado, papaya and guava juice, African style.


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And when he did get to visit the Olifants West Nature Reserve where the Black Mambas handle a lot of anti-poaching work, he was frozen, ‘heart in mouth’, at the beauty of what the all-female team protect. In a great update on the fundraising part of his story, Paul helped raise £3,288 (over R77 000) for the incredible female protectors of nature. 


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But there were also many tough times along the way. Moments of isolation. Tiredness. Inner conflict. But, messages of support from family and friends, stubbornness and a French cyclist’s advice to just keep going, were a few of the things that kept Paul going.

Of how he felt when he finally reached the final chapter, Paul shares that he had mixed feelings.

“I adopted a new persona for 9 months, and now it was over. I was happy and proud, but also without a purpose anymore. I was glad I could achieve my goal, and I’m going to carry that feeling of satisfaction forever. But I also had unanswered questions,” he tells Good Things Guy.

A big part of Paul’s journey was to do with identity. Being a South African who had been in the UK for 25 years, coming homeward was more than a nostalgic journey. Instead, it was something of a reclamation of a part of himself.

Beyond a powerful impact on his own life, Paul hopes that he has brought about positive impact to the Black Mambas.

“I hope that they will be able to improve the technology they use, continue their good work in the park and the local community, and feel more like the world is supporting their cause.”—Paul Edkins.

Sources: GTG interview
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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