The ‘Classic Safari Challenge’ convoy of 34 classic motor cars drove through Namibia this week as participants in the international event wound their way along the 8,000-kilometre African adventure round trip from Cape Town.
Organised by the Endurance Rally Association (ERA), with its headquarters in Oxfordshire, England, the rally attracted teams from the UK, Portugal, Italy, Australia and USA, to mention a few.
Participants in the 6th Classic Safari Challenge are exploring new territory throughout the journey, which offers both beautiful scenery and some unforgiving dirt roads that challenges the driving skills and endurance of these ‘old timers’.
The route goes through parts of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and all vehicles were shipped out to CT six weeks ahead of the event from their respective countries, in time for the start on October 7.
The line-up of vehicles taking part in this four-week overland adventure include a magnificent 1927 Bentley Le Mans, which is the oldest in the pack.
The classic cars, which range in year and model, are jaw-dropping, with Porsche 911’s, Ford Coupe, Ford Mustang, Volvo PV5, Mercedes Benz SL’s, Morgan, a 1952 Alfa Romeo Matta AR51, Citroen 11B, Jaguar Mk1, a 1976 Ferrari 308 GT4 and even a 1934 Alvis Speed 20 from Texas all taking part.
Woema caught up with some of the participants who had parked their vehicles at the Strand Hotel for the night, before heading on to Etosha the next day.
Cars were coated with dust after their encounter on Namibia’s gravel roads, bonnets were flung open and many of the drivers were tinkering around inside their engines and sorting out their belongings after a long day behind the wheel.
It was mentioned that a team of mobile mechanics and medics accompany the men and women, in the event of some mechanical breakdown, but most of the vehicles carry their basic spares. The ‘Classic Safari Rally’, they said, is a wonderful social experience for collectors and restorers of classic vehicle enthusiasts from around the world.
It is an adventure which provides exhilarating driving days, spiced up with an optional ‘Time Trial’ on gravel sections for those who want to have a bash at some competitive driving. For those who simply want to tour around, a tarmac alternative route is available.
The route is suitable for both newcomers and experienced crews, and teams are provided with a simple and easy to follow route book with distances marked in kilometres and miles, and even useful fuel stops are indicated. A GPS is optional.
There is no roughing it for these international classic car travellers, with luxury accommodation in exclusive lodges, game parks and hotels laid on as well as scenic flights booked at some of the destinations, with the emphasis of giving the participants a first class opportunity to enjoy all that Africa has to offer.