The 2003 Classic Safari Challenge

 A three week marathon drive across the heart of Africa. 


The Caprivi Strip

The Longest Day?

Well, this may have been billed as “The Longest Day” but the reality of the situation is that, here we all are, sitting by another pool, with just about everyone in by three o’clock in the afternoon. 

Only Peter and Betty Banham and Tony Fowkes and Andy Inskip are still out there (working in the hotel car park). Your correspondent was delayed this afternoon with the mandatory filming of an elephant, and we are reliably informed that we can film more tomorrow, should we feel up to another pre-dawn start. But tomorrow is a half-day off, so, if you don’t see pictures in this diary of elephants all line astern holding on to the tails of the one in front, crossing the Chobe River, you’ll know that Syd has bunked off from reporting duties. Frankly you can see most of the river from the hotel verandah, so why half the rally are signing up for another voyage on an African Queen, after the near sinking of the last effort, is something of a mystery.

Good news? We have some…. we are reliably informed that Mick Darcey and Steve Hutchinson are on the road, and are trying to play catch up. Here’s hoping they found rather more than a tin shack for the night as the “Botswana In” border closed 6:30 this evening, before they reached it. The rest of us are enjoying the comfort of the Mowana Safari Lodge which is all straw thatch, giant log beams, wooden floors, candles on the table for dinner, sweet music…. fresh flowers abound, and drinking in the sundowners club was another remarkable sunset of African scenery at its most romantic.

The Vauxhall Prince Henry of Bill Ainscough sounded truly glorious pounding down the arrow straight Caprizi Strip, which runs for 300 kilometres on the narrow finger of land that takes you inland, into the heart of Africa. Angola on our left side, and Botswana on our right, we drive the last road in Namibia, into another country and another experience. Gone are all the desert landscapes, everything around is fresh, green, lush…. but still a wilderness.

The Big Bentley of Richard and Jill Dangerfield suffered from blocked up carburettors today, and was forced to a stop in a coughing fit, but Tony Fowkes soon had the Bentley bellowing again. Just about everyone has suffered from fuel-related problems. Peter Banham had it better, he says it was the first day he has not found anything to do by a roadside…. but drivers soon made up for that when he hit the hotel car park.

Looking forward to Livingstone and the Victoria Falls - several drivers reckon they are going to go bungie jumping off the Falls bridge. 


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