A FORMER Rodborough School head boy and three friends will be living the dream when they set off on a 6,000-mile fundraiser across Africa.
Elstead man Ben Sheppard and fellow Cardiff University graduates Tom Walsh, Jack Maynard and George Tomley are driving from Cairo to Cape Town in Liz, their trusty Land Rover Defender.
They have set their sights on raising £3,000 for conservation charity Tusk Trust, which supports more than 60 projects in 20 countries. Their drive down Africa will roughly follow the eastern coastline and it has been planned according to Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice.
The group will be driving through designated safe travel zones and they have sought advice from experts and family members living in Africa when it came to plotting a route down the continent. Three mechanics have inspected Liz and they plan to start their journey next month.
Ben said: “Doing an expedition like this has been a dream of ours for a few years and we really wanted to support a charity while doing it.
“The Tusk Trust is a fantastic charity and almost 90 per cent of its income is spent directly on projects in Africa.
“Tusk is also relevant to our expedition. It protects one of the globe’s last truly ‘wild’ regions and our route takes us through the heartland of Africa’s wilderness.”
While all the group have experience of visiting Africa before, they have made sure their fundraising challenge has been planned out meticulously, while taking in some of the great views of the continent.
Ben added: “We plan to mainly wild camp and to arrive in Cape Town by late January.
“We could do it quicker but we would like to dog-leg around Lake Victoria to see Uganda and Rwanda. We will have to be largely self-sufficient, as we plan to cross some quite desolate areas, notably the Sahara.
“We have all been to Africa before and are well acquainted with the headache of border crossings.
“My family initially just thought it was a pipe dream, but they’ve been wholly supportive.”
To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/ZeroBearings