On Thursday, May 24th, two travelers passed through Maun on their journey from Kenya to Cape Town. This journey, which started in March, will continue until the women reach Cape Town, South Africa. The Travel for Impact (TFI) team was thrilled to meet with Lysianne and Emma, the founders of Pedal for Purpose, who joined TFI interns at Bana Ba Letsatsi for the day. The kids were shocked to find that the women are cycling the entirety of their trip; and so were we. The women, who are travelling with nothing but their bicycles, are staying in villages, lodges, hotels and guesthouses along the way, promoting tourism in East and Southern Africa. Moreover, their trip, which will take them through seven countries, focuses on sustainable transportation, renewable energy, and community partnerships. Their goal is to show the beauty and diversity of the landscapes and the people. They have partnered with nine charities, at least one from each country they are cycling through. They have partnered with Travel for Impact in Botswana, an organization that supports a number of women and children initiatives in Northern Botswana. The Travel for Impact team was delighted to learn that another organization is raising the profile of tourism as a means to achieve community development. They hope that by the end of their self-funded trip, they will achieve what they set out to do, completing the journey and raising £10,000 or more for their partnering charities.
They explain how their journey connects tourism and civil society, by “travelling alone as two ladies with nothing but [their] bicycles”. They have been documenting and promoting the destinations and accommodations which have kindly hosted them along the way. A big shout out to Thamalakane River Lodge who hosted them in Maun. “We show the variety of places people can stay along our route and also the numerous activities people can enjoy,” they explain. Their social media “highlights the real beauty of the countries [they] travel through and the diversity of what they each offer.”
Lysianne and Emma explain, “We both are in no way professional cyclists, but we love the endless possibilities a bicycle can bring! We get to connect with people and places in a different way – far more than you would in a car. We feel completely free!” By the end of their journey, they want “people to realize that they can make a difference no matter how big or small,” continuing that imparting to people the beauty of Africa and the kindness of people is an added benefit of their trip.
Although there have been some challenges along the way, experiencing sickness in rural regions, being stranded, and the difficulties of managing relationships and communication with nine charities, the girls hope that they will be able to bring more people on board in the future.
We wish Lysianne and Emma the best as they continue their amazing journey, and commend them for their strength, courage, and commitment to their cause! What an incredible example of the diverse ways to bridge the gaps between tourism and civil society!