Wow! What an epic, intense, stressful and extremely educational last four months it has been for the both of us!
Since deciding to embark on this wild expedition in February 2017 we have been knuckles down trying to organize and pull this whole expedition together. This has pushed us in ways we haven’t stretched before as well as educated us on organizational management, logistical management and sales pitching.
After constructing an expedition proposal we set out organizing meeting’s with potential corporate sponsors and as each meeting went on we got better at selling our idea and started to gain some real interest in our cause. After securing our first couple big sponsors (Bokomo Botswana and Nashua) the ball started rolling and offers started coming in at a fantastic rate. We acquired a further five more corporate sponsors; Co-Arc Architecture, Deloitte’s, Shospec, Illustrative Options Botswana and Romesco Olives South Africa which all contributed generously to making this expedition a reality.
Further to this, substantial contributions were made by family friends and relatives, to which we are extremely grateful for all of their support. They raised a significant proportion of the total funds needed to start the expedition and with out all of their support this thing wouldn’t of picked up so quickly if at all, so again thank you so much! At the request of some to be anonymous no names have been specifically mentioned but hopefully this acknowledgement will serve as a sincere thank you regardless.
Now, this is without a doubt the short and friendly account of events that have taken place since February this year, but let me make one thing clear, it was not the pleasant stroll from company to company to collect sponsorship cash. In fact it was far from easy organizing meetings and logistics to actually sealing deals and this put us under a fair amount of stress which we were both not used to. Logistical issues played a good part in this as emailing and getting straight answers is no simple task in the glorious bureaucracies of Africa. Being one of the first time’s doing something of this scale it was a massive learning curve for us, however we handled our selves well, stayed up to date with what we had to do and crunched out all the little details to ensure we are best prepared for this expedition (or so we think).
No doubt there was a number of hick-ups or curve balls thrown at us along this journey so far. Just to name a couple;
- The first proper curve ball came when we drove down from Botswana to Johannesburg to further push sponsors and at the same time, get Willie’s motorcycle licence (required for SA only). After booking the appointment scheduled to collect the licence the following week in Zeerust we headed on wards with smiles and intent. However on our return journey to collect the licence there was riots in Zeerust, so we did further research and found out they had actually burnt down the Licencing Center in protest completely screwing with our plan. Not only messing with getting the licence it also meant we had to take an extended journey just to get back into Botswana as we had to change course due to the riots.
- The second was a more logistical issue. We bought the Tuk Tuk in Port Elizabeth and started kitting the bad boy out for the adventure; getting windows cut in, building benches and strongboxes which was all looking great. Then came the logistical issue of getting this Tuk Tuk down to Cape Town, whilst fulfilling our sponsorship obligations along the way. After trying to sort out the most cost effective plan we ended up having to fit a tow-bar on one of Willie’s parents cars, hitch a trailer and drive the beast there. Where this little story gets interesting is the fact that Willie then had to drive the car back to Port Elizabeth (800km), then get on a bus and head back to Cape Town for departure. But wouldn’t you know it, we happened to turn up a day before supposedly one of the biggest storms the Cape has faced in a number of years. So about half way to Port Elizabeth in Knysna, Willie was forced to stay there for two days as the storm had allowed a massive fire to spread uncontrollably blocking both two of the only roads in and out of Knysna. Further to this the mountain passes were also closed due to severe winds and rain, so Willie was left isolated to wait out the conditions and continue his journey up the coast. While Willie was, literally, fighting fires in Knysna, Cal was stuck in Cape Town and had to tie the “beast” down to stop it being swooped off by the wind and flown to Botswana, or end up floating to Mauritius. Thankfully the weather eased and the fire was some what controlled two days in so he was able to push through towards Port Elizabeth.
These are some of the more interesting issues we faced on the prelude to the trip and most certainly not our last for the expedition!
Things are looking up, the sky’s have cleared and we are getting a final check done on our Tuk Tuk so we shall be ready to depart by the end of the week we hope but as we’ve seen things are not as straightforward as one might think.
We also gained another crew member for a the length of the expedition. Welcome Corban Brincat! Corban went to school with us in Gaborone Botswana and has since been living in South Africa for the last number of years. Hes a good mate with plenty of yarns so he will make a vital asset to our expedition! For more on him check his bio under ‘Team’.
Again, we would like to thank everyone that has gotten behind us for this expedition it really does mean a lot to us and we couldn’t be more grateful!
We would also like to make a special thank you to Grant and Siobhan Buckmaster who have helped us on a huge scale, and with out their input this expedition would of been a lot harder to come by. From housing and feeding us as well as great advise and the spreading of our idea through their networks. It is very humbling to have received so much support and backing from family, friends and colleagues.
We we would also really like to thank Johan and Monica Badenhorst for the support and advice they have given us in preparing for the journey. Johan helped us a lot when modifying the beast, cutting windows in as well as building the back seats, and transporting it down to Cape Town from Port Elizabeth. We are very grateful for what you have done to help us.
A few more thank you’s;
- Theunis and Elma Coetzer for their advice and support of the trip
- Dylan Oosthuizen and the lads at 5a Bray Road, Cape Town for housing us while we dodged the extreme weather and prepared for the trip.
- Riaan Lombard for using is wizardly skills to make our website look dope as hell
- Kevin and Leigh Allardyce for housing us in Joburg while we meet potential sponsors
We are off tomorrow so stay tuned and follow us on Facebook and keep up to date with the blog as we hope to provide you all with a great story filled with the ups and downs of taking this beast through Africa, conservation stories and initiatives a long the way, great photos/videos and of course plenty of banter!
Stay well and keep posted!
Barefoot Adventurers Club