Welcome to the blog of the Indlovu 2011 Drive and our journey into Africa overland.
I am transcribing this in 2021, from my journaled notes, as we reach the ten year anniversary of this incredible adventure. I will try to be as faithful to my original writing, as much as sensibilities allow. To be honest it’s been too personal to do before, but in a decade, a lot of dust can settle…… RicH
We hope to include our motivation, planning and the journey itself as this project grows from fledgling pub-talk to fulfilment of an impossible dream.
Richard broke his neck playing rugby in 1986 and is dependent upon using a wheelchair and crutches, but recent advances in self care (Peristeen) and the import of the incredible Azalai Land Rover Camper conversion make the adventure possible.
All that’s needed now is our commitment and belief – and quite probably a little luck and goodwill!
We’ve been mulling the possibility of Africa overland since we first went to South Africa ten years ago. We have been back many times since, and are particularly drawn to the outdoors and wildlife. Equally, one would have to be pretty facile to not be completely intrigued, overwhelmed and bewildered by the human complexities of such a huge and diverse continent. And that’s just scratching at the surface!
I have been inspired by reading Colin Javens’ story ‘Driving Home’. Colin (seen in the Sudan in this picture along with his crew) is a phenomenal fundraiser, born in Kenya, who is tetraplegic following a neck injury. His pioneering trip (from a disability point of view) prooves that there is no excuse not to undertake a similar venture. (A bit like my friend Swiss Toni, rather helpfully telling me that the Bloukrans Bridge Bungee, Western Cape RSA, the highest commercial bungee jump in the world at the time, “took wheelchairs” – the point being because they did, I did, and it was good too! Thx Swiss x).
All that said, the logistics are still crucial. Colin’s trip was with a couple of vehicles, and a few carers and support team members. My disability, though still neck break related, is not quite as profound as Colin’s, and although I’m sure it would have been his goal too; to travel as independently as possible [minimum obligations for carer(s)] we might need to think more laterally in order to avoid the trip becoming disabling rather than liberating in my circumstance! EG Within my established support mechanisms (that’s adaptations and Rachie as carer!) I’m quite independent at toileting at home, but a non accessible facility on the edge of the Nubian Desert could quite easily put pay to that. An aim of our trip is to challenge that sort of environmental and circumstantial limitation. And our recent research has possibly afforded us a solution. Enter the Azalai Land Rover Camper conversion http://www.azalai.co.uk/. – and it turns out that the UK franchise is just a stone’s throw away from us in Kingsteignton at OEC Ltd. We booked a visit over there and met with Anton De Leeuw – super guy, straight as a die, clearly knows his stuff. We chatted through our formative plans (East Route in a few years’ timescale) and looked at an Azalai shell (not even on a base vehicle yet). It looks like a goer – but we need to consider the cost in detail.
Clearly this is going to be a big commitment – a good job we have no kids – as if we did we would definitely be depriving them of any inheritance due!…