Tourists out for a gentle stroll today in Hyde Park had their peace shattered by African drumming, cars pipping and a wild man dressed as a Victorian explorer interviewing people dressed in all sorts of outfits.
This was no anti-Mugabe rally, or some world music festival, rather the launch of the Africa Rally, the latest madcap crap car drive organised by the Adventurists, the Bristol-based people who aim to make the world a little bit less boring by organizing completely insane journeys to obscure parts of the world in sub one-litre cars – for charity.
More than 40 teams left a rain-soaked Hyde Park around lunchtime to head for Cameroon – some 8 or 9,000 miles - crossing desert, jungle and terrain that a rugged 4 wheel drive would struggle through. The idea behind the rally is to have fun, but also to raise thousands of pounds for deserving charities – such as Frank Water and CWAF – while raising a little hell on the way.
Prizes were awarded for the best ‘pimped’ vehicle – the winner by a mile being the furry zebra mini-van - and also for the most unsuitable vehicle – which were most of them. The rally is not a race, rather a chance to journey through some interesting places, battling bureaucracy and road-induced boredom at every turn.
With worried parents aplenty lining North Carriage drive, we waved off the brave adventurers. If you’d like to know more, follow the team’s progress across the dark continent.
Words and pictures by Will Rankin