The 2003 Classic Safari Challenge

 A three week marathon drive across the heart of Africa. 


Etosha Game Park

The shortest day so far - but by far the most dramatic.

The shortest day so far. But by far the most dramatic. With only around 60 miles to drive, this was meant to be easy-peasy, and from the driving point of view, proved just that. What made this the most memorable drive for just about everyone on the event? We all came up against “Africa in the raw”. 

One driver inched past a herd of 60 elephants. Several others saw lions, one no less that a pride of seven together, and a few of us saw a lion forget there were humans just yards away - and darted out of some bushes to steal a half-alive Springbok from the jaws of a bunch of jackels. All of us saw giraffes wondering around. OK, so we have all seen this sort of thing on countless David Attenborough programmes, but when you get a ring-side seat and see all this, in the course of a few hours, first hand…. well, life take on a rather different perspective.

Nobody would want to rush about Africa with all this going on - so, no rallying, as such, today, just a matter of getting from one end of the enormous Etosha game reserve to the other. Forget anything you have ever seen of the lions of Longleat, Whipsnade and the rest. This was every day life out on the savanna for everything from warthogs to wildebeasts. We took it all in and filled out lungs with the very best of Africa, and everyone has vowed that while no hotel has yet to match the comforts of standards of service of Kenya’s Hemingways, we all want to return to this spot.

Apart from that, not much to report. The Inghams are running fine with the big green Bentley saloon, after the fuel problems of the day before, and Anders Wulf is as sick as an African parrot, because he lost his gold medal yesterday when the extra-long-travel rear springs he fitted let him down, when a top bolt became undone. Phillippa’s black Rover sounded as sick as Anders Wulf going up hills, when it grumbles loudly, but the driver insists everything is fine, and given she still has a gold medal, and has seen more animals than the rest of us, there can’t be much wrong with the world.

It’s a bright starry sky with the milky way and the belt of Orion directly overhead, with the Seven Sisters over to the left, and the Southern Hemisphere looks grand. Can’t comment on the rest of the night sky, as Arthur Ransom never brought his Swallows and Amazons on a Winter Holiday this far south…. we need Paul Easter to just drop by an enlighten us.

More rattling tappet-chatter tomorrow. 


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