The Africa Rally? What’s that?
The Africa Rally is a three-week charity road trip through Africa, running from 1-22 July 2023. It starts at Sparrowhawk Lodge in Hartbeespoort (South Africa) and ends 4 200km later on Lake Victoria in Kenya, to the west of Kimusu.
The route has been chosen to showcase some particularly amazing places, and most teams are looking forward to seeing elephants in Botswana, the Victoria Falls in Zambia, and braaiing fresh fish on the beach in Malawi (best in the world!). Once into Tanzania there are wilderness areas to the west, and beautiful scenery along Lake Tanganyika to explore. Alternatively, teams can take a more direct route across the country, taking in Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area before entering Kenya. Once in Kenya, it’s merely a day or so’s drive to the finish line on the banks of Lake Victoria.
Teams from all over the world are involved, but the Europeans currently outnumber the South African teams… that’s simply not acceptable, so we urge you to enter for this most epic of adventures by visiting www.africarally.com
Any vehicle can enter. In fact, the more ridiculous the vehicle, the better!
Entry Categories: (https://africarally.com/entry-categories/)
Costs (per team, no additional cost per person): https://africarally.com/product/pathfinder-edition-2023/
How did it all start?
Well… it started as far back as 2010, when some of the founding members of Africa Rally Group took part in The Mongol Rally: a14 000km drive that had to be completed in a non-4×4 vehicle with an engine size of less than 1.2 litres – a Suzuki Wagon R was their vehicle of choice for this trip!
During this trip, they got (very) lost, completely stuck, and generally had one hell of an adventure. However, it wasn’t long before Africa called, and in the team organised their first rally, designed to pay homage to the original Paris-Dakar Rally route. However, instead of Paris, the group set off from Plymouth in the UK, before traversing Europe into Morocco, followed by Mauritania, and ending in Dakar, Senegal on the western-most tip of Africa.
This trip wasn’t without mishaps, which was inevitable seeing that the team had chosen yet another unsuitable vehicle, purchased for less than R10 000. The most memorable mishap occurred in Mauritania, when – just north of Rosso – the wheel on the Suzuki decided to fly off and bounce down the road. It’s not just South Africa that has some nasty potholes!
Although it was eventually retrieved, it was clear that a fair bit of damage had been done, beyond what the relatively conservative toolbox could fix. They hadn’t seen another car all day… and it was hot… stuck in the middle of the Sahara hot. Time to start walking…
Not ten minutes later a Hilux appeared on the horizon, and it was swiftly flagged down. The language barrier was a bit of an issue, but it was clear what the team were trying to say. “Mechanic?” was the answer – finally a word everyone knew! To absolute surprise the driver then pointed into the back of the truck, where another man in a blue boiler suit and covered in oil gave the thumbs up. It turns out they had broken down roughly 10km past the Suzuki and had gone to fetch a mechanic earlier that day – he was only too pleased to help!
Years went by, and multiple small trips across sub-Saharan Africa were completed, but the desire was always there to put on something larger, something anyone could get involved in, in any vehicle – The Africa Rally was born!
But what’s the point?
The Africa Rally on an individual level is for people wanting to reconnect with the outside world and perhaps push themselves beyond their comfort zone. It’s an opportunity to live life to the fullest and make new friends with a similarly adventurous outlook.
The endless possibility of experiences that await in Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya are surely reason enough to enter, but it was important for The Africa Rally team to give something back. During previous expeditions there had always been a nominated charity for which they had raised funds. In 2010 it was Mercy Corps, in 2016 it was SOS International Children’s Villages, and on more recent trips it has been a variety of charities including JDRF and CoolEarth.
The sad fact is that all charities need help following the pandemic. Therefore, The Africa Rally asks each team to nominate a charity of their choice and raise funds for them as part of the trip. There is fantastic international exposure for the adventure, with media outlets from three continents following the trip, and it should be an opportunity to raise both funds and awareness for their charity.
What do you get for your money?
Yes, there is a small entry fee per team (not per person crucially, so fill your vehicle and it’s considerably cheaper), but what does this get you:
- An all-inclusive Start Line & Finish Line Party (yes that’s free drinks, food, entertainment, and camping).
- Africa Rally car stickers to help identify you on the road so you know who your fellow participants are, plus they make your vehicle look cool and probably add a few horsepower.
- Africa Rally Entry Pack, with useful tips and tricks for the road, along with some free merchandise.
- Access to the Partner Network, this alone recoups your entry fee, as you’ll get discounted rates on:
- A wide variety of lodges and campsites along the route
- An adventure travel specialist visa company (Smart Visas) that can do all the paperwork for you.
- An event specific travel insurance policy via JS Insurance.
- A shipping and logistics company to do everything else for you (Global Fixers)
- A discounted rate with Bushlore 4×4 Rental, should you wish to simply ’borrow’ an expedition vehicle for the trip.
- …and importantly a unique and highly coveted Africa Rally Finishers Medal for anyone who reaches the finish line with (or without) their vehicle!
Have your tastebuds for adventure been tickled? The team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for any initial questions, or to enter, simply hit any of the ’Sign Up‘ buttons on the website: www.africarally.com
Direct link to sign up: https://africarally.com/product/pathfinder-edition-2023/