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Cycling Dub pedals from Pyramids to tip of Africa

A cyclist has begun an epic journey to pedal from the pyramids to the southern tip of Africa.

Paddy Berkery, from Dublin, will ride more than 12,000km through the heart of the continent. His epic trip will take four months as he cycles more than 120km a day.

Paddy (27), an accountant from Castleknock, hopes to raise €10,000 for the work of Irish development agency Self Help Africa. The charity assists communities living in poverty to feed themselves.

He set off with a group of international volunteers in the Tour D'Afrique along a route from Cairo in Egypt through 10 countries to South Africa. The first part will be along the Nile River southwards through Sudan and into Ethiopia.

From there, the cyclists will follow the notorious lava road from Ethiopia to Northern Kenya, passing through the safari lands and game reserves of Kenya and Tanzania, across the Great Rift Valley to Malawi, Zambia, and the Namibian desert, then onwards to the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean at Cape Town.

The cycling Dub is familiar with the work of Self Help Africa, as his father Michael, the long-standing general secretary of the Irish Farmers Association, was an early supporter of the charity.

"My father became involved with Self Help Africa in its early days, when he worked alongside a former IFA president, the late Joe Rea, to explore how farmers might help the plight of the millions of Africans affected by food crises such as the 1984 famine in Ethiopia," he said.

"There had been a bumper harvest in Ireland, and they wanted to see how Irish farmers might contribute to the crisis that was unfolding in Ethiopia. They teamed up with Self Help, and forged links between the charity and the farming community which exist to this day.

"It will be the experience of a lifetime. I hope that people will support it and know that donations will be going to a very worthwhile cause."

Readers can contribute at www.selfhelpafrica.net.

aokeeffe@herald.ie