Alastair's Blog

Rally Round Africa - October 2018 | Classic Rallies

- Tuesday, December 18, 2018

In October, I took part in the Rally Round Africa classic rally, a 25-day, 6,700 kilometer trip that took us from Dar es Salaam to Cape Town, going through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa. This time I took my trusty "yellow peril," the Mercedes SL. During the trip we travelled through lush forests,  awesome deserts, fertile vineyards, vibrant cities, legendary coastlines and fabulous game reserves – the four-week itinerary included six safari drives, and we were lucky enough to see Africa’s ‘big five’ game animals (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros) and much more besides.


The Yellow Peril has arrived in Tanzania for the Rally Round Africa rally. Sadly one Mercedes had a big prang, driving in Africa is a bit haphazard. Just done the first day, done about 200k so far. 

Local Masai who danced for us very informally, they were having fun for themselves. 

Look, no hands! Going home with the makings for lunch.

Game park

In the rally now, all going well. Went to a game park and saw lots of animals, too many to list. Back of a bus with local heroes emblazoned. Note the machine pistols rampant.

Oops, local traffic failure!

The plane that flew us to the game reserve.

A pride of lions

Extra overflow seating on the bus!

A roadside basket stall in Tanzania & local produce on the roadside for sale. It's all lovely stuff but no room in the car. Seems heartbreakingly little trade for lots of stuff, but like all Africa the people are lovely and universally cheerful.

A fantastic Babao tree, this one is in leaf but we saw forests of them not; they can stay dormant for many years and then come back into leaf.

A zebra crossing......!


The rally is going well for us. Seen many animals, too many to list. Went through Malawi which is a very poor country, hardly any traffic and none of the roadside hustle and bustle seen on the rest of the trip. In Zambia now for 3 days and it is a happy and prosperous place. Staying in the magnificent Royal Livingstone hotel on the banks of the Zambezi river. Hippos in the river and giraffes, zebra and antelopes wandering the lawns. Off to Botswana this morning.

Roadside charcoal selling, this is huge with thousands of them all along the highways. It's used for domestic cooking and is a huge business.

Fangio style Chevrolet Coupe on the rally, there are 4 of them.

SL sitting in the sun waiting for the roadworks, the car is going very well so far...

Happy tank repair worker.

Sabi Sabi Sands lodge

Have stayed 2 nights in beautiful earth lodge in Sabi Sabi on the edge of Kruger Park where we are going today. We only did one game drive and we saw the Big 5 as they are known in one evening. Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, rhinoceros & leopard, plus hyena, kudu, waterbuck etc. The Lodge was great with lovely rooms and we had waterbuck and kudu grazing on our bushes in front of the room and elephants tearing down trees outside reception for food. Food and staff were lovely. 

Game drive videos

Leopard on a tree. We wondered, did she climb the tree because the hyena were circling?

Lion calling for his brother. Our guide had only heard a lion call like that 4 or 5 times since he's been out here.

Leopard on the move. We might have annoyed her with the lights, anyway, here she is showing us the universal sign of contempt before settling down again.

Waterbuck by the pool. A female waterbuck, eating the thorn bush right by our swimming pool, oblivious to me filming her. 

Stay at forest lodge

Another day off at a great lodge, only one game drive but we were rewarded by a cheetah encounter with two brothers. They were beautiful to see and we followed them on their evening stroll where they marked their territory and looked for potential trouble before retiring for the night. 

Driving up the Swartberg Pass

Drove up this pass, great views from the top and good driving.

The Oyster Box Hotel

A charming old world hotel right on the Indian Ocean, complete with its own lighthouse and in-house singer - also interesting fans above the bar.

Giraffe crossing. We've had a zebra crossing, now we've got a giraffe crossing. It was intrigued by the Mercedes!

The end of the rally

Didn't do the rally on the last day. The regularities are just too boring, so we drove the beautiful main road through the wine country to the lovely hotel. Finish is in Cape Town. Great trip and some good memories.


Driving to our hotel to get some time by the pool, through thousands of acres of vineyards. This valley is a very handsome part of the world, bit windy though. 


Finished the rally, the little yellow hairdresser's car ran very well, well done Joe! We saw lots of game, stayed in some lovely places and drove some great roads. Did not do the competitive bits towards the end as were too boring but still made 3rd place in class. Car already with the shippers and we off back soon. Driving round the Cape, back towards Capetown. Beautiful beaches with lovely white sand and the mountains drop down to the sea.

Rally overview

Here's a compilation video done by our friends at Rally Round of the whole Africa rally, with background music.

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