The 2003 Classic Safari Challenge
A three week marathon drive across the heart of Africa.
Just over 350 kilometres today...
JUST over 350 kilometres today, so an easy-going, lope-along sort of day in the blistering heat. We pounded up gravel roads from breakfast (out on the terrace, and we did not get going until mid-day, it's that sort of rally), taking us from our lodge to the comforts of the best hotel in town in Swakopmund.
We are out on the coast, a very rural, unspoilt, wild part of Namibia.... We won't be going anywhere near the capital of Windhoek, as the whole policy has been to take a rally with deliberately small numbers and drive into the remotest regions wherever possible.
Today was a short day because we set out at sunrise to run down through the giant sand-dunes, some tower 400 feet above us, and the early-morning sun plays clever tricks with the shadows to produce a stunning and weird lighting effect. An unforgettable experience. Everyone elected to romp up one of the dunes... what a fit lot.
Results? Nobody seems to care much. There was a press-on-regardless section again today, but few bothered to change out of cruising mode. The champagne goes to Peter Brennan and Mick Bricks, driving an MG B V8, they were actually third fastest, behind Paul Merryweather, Mercedes, and Mick Darcey, MG B, but as these two have been drinking champagne for the past couple of nights, the informal rules are such that anyone who has won a bottle gives way to the next best in line.... Gentlemen's Rallying, this. Paul and Ayesha Markland won the bottle for best effort in the Vintageant's mob,
Today has been a short but stunning drive through remarkable landscapes of great wide open spaces, ending with a short run on tarmac from into Swakopmund, and even this was stunning.... we caught a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean out to the left, ships an anchor in Walvis Bay, and enormous rolls of tide crashing into cliffs of sand.... the dunes make a dramatic backdrop to rallying through this little-explored land.
Tomorrow, we head for Twfelfontein, on the way to the Etosha National Park, home to the largest elephants in the world. Another shortish day, of around 350 kms, as the route-planners set out to provide a course suitable for, a good social time, with lots of time off....and a course well within the capabilities of a long-legged Vintageant. The few Mercedes drivers don't seem at all frustrated by such an easy-going attitude with an event that never planned much in the way of competition. With such amazing landscapes every day to drive through, we have enough distractions.... without lots of clocking in and out
It's just too damn hot for all that. All are in good health, looking forward to tomorrow's adventures.