25 January 2008


Two Toyotas to Timbuctu

Team Shap Ahoy, Tim Lovatt and Nick Capron took part in the 2006 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, when they raised over £4500 for Pageant. (see the story of their journey) Then in 2007, they were off again to Africa, this time to Bamako in Mali, to check the route for the new Bamako Challenge. At the end of this, they sold their car for £250, donating this to Pageant. (see this story) Tim still hadn't had enough, so this year he and three friends decided on another independent trip to Mali - hence Two Toyotas to Timbuctu or 4Ts.
Tim with Nolan Pretty, Ian Hunt and Geoff Todd acquired two Toyota Landcruisers off eBay. These were the the old short wheelbase LJ70 models, each sporting a 2.4 litre turbo Diesel engine. The teams left the UK on 26 December, and travelled by ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao in Spain. They then drove through Spain to Tarifa, and crossed over to Tangier by ferry, reaching Fez on 29 December. Their journey through Morocco took them through the Altas mountains, taking time to explore the Todra and Dades gorges. They then headed over the Atlas via Quarzazate and along the coast into Western Sahara, camping near Laayoune.
On 5 January, they crossed the border into Mauritania, driving off-road to Nouakchott, still on the coast. From there they headed east through the desert towards Nema and crossed into Mali. They reached Timbuctu on 11th January, and immediately set off into the desert to the north to visit the Festival of the Desert. On returning to Timbuctu, they sold both cars (proceeds to Pageant) and became tourists. They hired a car with driver, and set off to tour the fabulous Dogon country. This was followed by a boat trip on the River Niger. They returned to Bamako, and flew home on 21 January.
So that's the end of another adventure!
Pageant has a web page, with reports sent back during their journey. Over the next few weeks we hope to have pictures and more details, so keep checking this page.

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