Well known explorers and Land Rover ambassadors Kingsley and Ross Holgate have embarked on their next world-first humanitarian and geographic expedition on Mandela Day, Wednesday 18 July, from Nobel Square on the V&A Waterfront to Kathmandu, Nepal.
The Cape Town to Kathmandu Expedition are travelling through Southern Africa to the edge of the European world and then through ancient Asia to the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal in the most capable premium SUV, Land Rover Discovery. Covering 19 countries and 17,000 kilometres, this Land Rover journey follows in the footsteps of Marco Polo along a branch of the ancient Silk Route, from Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China.
The vehicles will take in some of the world’s most iconic sights such as Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, the ancient city of Troy and Samarkand’s medieval Registan Square. The expedition will cross 5,000 metre Himalayan passes in the mighty Karakoram, travel the trackless wastes of the Taklamakan Desert and the infinite high-altitude grasslands of the Hindu Kush, sharing the journey with the rugged Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Turkmen peoples who have made these regions their home.
The expedition team will report from these lands that are filled with some of the world’s finest and architectural gems as they travel through more than 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to their destination in the shadow of the world’s highest mountain – Mt Everest.
Having completed journeys of discovery to all 54 countries on the African continent and being the first exploration team in the world to discover the geographic centre of Africa and reach all seven extreme geographic points on the continent, as well as exploring four South American countries, Australia and Madagascar during their Capricorn round-the-world journey, the Cape Town to Kathmandu expedition is the first in a new adventure theme of ‘Africa & Beyond’ for Kingsley, Ross and their band of adventurers – starting in Africa with a strong humanitarian and community focus, then going beyond to explore new countries and exciting new locations.
Kingsley Holgate, South African explorer, humanitarian and author said: “It will be the first time that Land Rover’s Discovery vehicles undertake a trans-continental journey through Africa, the South Caucasus region, Central and Southern Asia. We will be using our two specially-kitted expedition Discoveries that recently completed a world-first journey to reach Africa’s most easterly point at Ras Xaafun in north-eastern Somalia on the Horn of Africa.”
On the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the adventure begins with the collection of Cape Town sea-water in the expedition’s symbolic Zulu calabash at Nobel Square, which will be carried to Kathmandu and emptied at a site of historic significance. To commemorate Mandela Day, the expedition team be presented with special edition ‘Madiba100’ beaded bracelets, which are hand-crafted by the Khayelitsha-based Relate Trust.
The expedition will carry a new Madiba Scroll of Peace and Goodwill, which will collect messages and signatures of support from dignitaries and ordinary citizens en route. At the end of the expedition, it will be presented for endorsement to representatives of Kathmandu, in a symbolic gesture of goodwill from the people of South Africa.
Land Rover retailers along the route through South Africa will play host to the expedition team and use the occasion to promote the Land Rover Hope Box project with Red Cross, as part of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary theme of ’70 years of doing good’.
A key focus of all Kingsley Holgate expeditions is ‘using adventure to save and improve lives’ and this new world-first journey of discovery is no exception. A number of humanitarian and community conservation activities will play a major role in the expedition’s objectives in Africa and Asia including Malaria prevention, Mashozi’s Rite to Sight, Lifestraw distribution, Community Conservation Education and Early Childhood Development (ECD).
Ross Holgate, Expedition Logistics and Technical Manager adds:
“The off-road capabilities of the latest Discovery are truly incredible. “The all-terrain system makes easy work of sand tracks, mud tracks, goat tracks – even no tracks, swollen rivers, desert crossings and dangerous mountain passes. To that, add safety and comfort (there’s even a seat massage system – great for long hours on the road), and no expedition is complete without music, which is now easily played through the Discovery’s excellent bluetooth system. Seats that fold down at the touch of a button and allow you to load expedition kit, not to mention all the secret compartments – very useful for valuable personal travel items. We look forward to yet another great adventure once again with the capable vehicle.”
The expedition also sees the launch of Kingsley’s widely-anticipated 5th book, ‘Africa – A Love Affair with a Continent’. Five years in the making and spanning 30 years of travel and adventure to every country in Africa, including all of her island states, it is arguably the most comprehensive African adventure book ever written