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Trans Africa expedition blog from tour leader Cade

 

Our 38 week Trans Africa Expedition from the UK to Cairo via Cape Town, started in November 2012, with the group flying to Gibraltar to meet their crew Benny and Cade and the Oasis overland truck.  Cade has promised to entertain us over the coming weeks with his ramblings of where they go and what they see on the way.  Some of the following might not be entirely accurate but it is a great read…

 

Bushcamping in Morocco on the Oasis Trans Africa overland expeditionEpisode I – A Piece of History

I think that when each person is asked who their favourite teacher was back at school, there is always a handful that immediately spring to mind but one name that will always stand out far above the rest.  When posed the question, the first name that immediately rolls off my tongue is that of Mr Butcher, my history teacher of four years.  It was he who was the reason I elected to study history ahead of geography at the age of 14 and it was he who taught me that not only is the Dodge Viper the greatest car known to man, but also that history as we know it is based entirely on interpretation. The evidence is there for us to assess and interpret, and from that we are able to arrive to our own conclusions.  As a result, based on nought but my anecdotal evidence, our Trans Africa journey thus far has brought me to a few historical conclusions.

So the Oasis Overland group boarded the flight from London to Gibraltar which by sheer coincidence happens to be the exact same journey that King Reginald IV (aka Reggie Babes) embarked upon some 400 years prior to the very day.  Back then, the English were going through their conquering faze of adolescence and King Reggie Babes decided he needed a new addition to his vast empire.  So he boarded a plane which flew over France, passed Portugal and over most of Spain until he spotted a little place called Gibraltar. It was there the King decided that rather than have a little piece of Spain in his home, he’d simply have a little piece of his home in Spain. Gibraltar was hence forth officially classified as English property and those three things that attracted King Reggie Babes IV then, today attract thousands of tourists.

1. The Runway

Exiting the airport and walking the path to the centre of town, it is easy to be somewhat confused when you pass a giant pedestrian sign flashing permission to walk.  On questioning as to why there is a need for such a giant sign, you might logically assume that you are about to cross a giant road.  Let’s just say you would be half right; except this is not just a giant road, this is a runway!  This attraction not only explained why King Reggie Babes IV’s made the Guiness World Record book for constructing the biggest pedestrian sign known to man, but would also explain why Gibraltar statistically sports the lowest jaywalking rate worldwide.

2. The Tax – or lack thereof

Because Gibraltar is a tax free haven, it is less of a small city and more of a giant outdoor duty-free lounge. So it was here where our overland group stocked up on the bare essentials for our Trans Africa expedition.  It just seems that these days “bare essentials” is more a referral to rum & cigarettes.

3. The Rock

At 487 metres high this limestone slab not only serves one with breath-taking views of the Spanish hills and a Dolby surround sound view of the Atlantic Ocean, but also serves as a home to an army of demonic apes.  Jumping on the cable car upon arrival to catch the fresh visitors unawares, the apes waste no time in announcing their presence and assessing their potential victims.  They pounce attack and swarm in numbers in order to obtain any and all edible tourist possessions.

On crossing Spanish immigration on my way to Gibraltar in order to greet the group at the airport on what had been a sunny Sunday afternoon, I had barely set foot on English territory when I immediately felt a fresh drop of rain on my face.  I looked above my head to see the crystal clear skies had immediately been replaced by dark grey clouds of gloom followed by a a few droplets of rain and a flash thunderstorm.  I thought of the king, of his attempts to shrug off the notoriously glum English weather and chuckled to myself at the fact that his attempts had been greatly overpowered by the determination of the British climatic irony.

Now as you can probably understand the king of Spain at the time, King El Dudeo, wasn’t overly happy with his precious rock being taken from him.  Admittedly he would go on to miss the cheap rum but in honesty, he never really liked the apes anyway since the time a simple confrontation with the alfa-male turned into a scuffle.  This incident commonly referred to as `Fingergate` resulted his little finger being bitten off, followed by a series of rabies injections but most important was the severe impact it had on his royal wave.

But he wasn’t a stupid King either, see he had a plan. Since he realised that King Reggie Babes IV had an offshore holiday home, he thought that he might do the same and went on to claim a little piece of Africa called Ceuta. It was here in Ceuta that we disembarked the ferry and took the Oasis overland truck over the border for our first night camping in Morocco and our first night long-awaited night on the African continent.

So it looks like we are underway on our Trans Africa expedition.  It looks like Hindsight, in all her wisdom, has told me I probably should have opted to elect Geography instead of history.  Mr Butcher would have me standing out in the hall by now as punishment for my illegal use of anecdotal evidence.  And if I had elected to do Geography all those years ago I’d probably know where we are now or better yet, where we are going.  But then again, where’s the fun in that?

Check out our Trans Africa Expedition

* We would just like to say that we have every confidence that Cade knows where he is going! 

Posted in Africa, All Blogs.


4 Responses

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  1. Kenzie says

    We don’t share your confidence in Cade. TIA!! And is there a link to Benny’s interview with The Sunday Times?

  2. The Team @ Oasis Overland says

    TIA – we love this travellers acronym meaning ‘This Is Africa’ – or – things don’t happen the way they would at home! The Trans Africa trip is special as no two years are the same – so sometimes last minute route changes can make the trip more exciting for travellers (and the crew!). On the current Trans Africa Expedition we have decided not to go through Mali and instead took an exploratory route through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast for the first time. When changes like this are made we trust our crew to go with the flow and make the best decisions for all of the group… TIA style! We are equally excited about Benny’s five minutes of fame. As soon as his name appears in lights we will be sharing it – we have a lot of confidence in his driving abilities, so we are hoping his verbal ramblings are equally as good!

  3. Kenzie says

    ‘we trust our crew’? Is the Cap’n sailing the Seven Seas? No, we do trust them with most things, including the Cap’n.

  4. Africa e Viaggi says

    Congratulations for the article and wishes for your future expedition.
    Enjoy!



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