The African Adventure
4x4 Adventure Drive

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are the organisers experienced and reputable?

4x4xplore (The 4x4 Explorers Club) is part of HERO - the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation. Event Director John Brown is one of the world's most experienced organisers of rallies and long distance motoring adventures. HERO was founded in 1996 by John and around 100 enthusiasts. Today there are some 2,500 members, the great majority of whom have competed on at least one big event organised by the club. Major 4x4 endurance events have been the London-Cape Town of 1998, 2001's Inca Trail around South America, the Arctic Winter Trial 2003 - not to mention the Great Tour of China in 2004. HERO's classic car rallies include the legendary LE JOG (the Land's End to John o'Groats Reliability Trial), the Scottish Malts Reliability Trial, the HERO Irish Trial & Tour and the London-Lisbon Classic Rally.

How experienced and fit do I need to be?

If you are a reasonably experienced and skilled driver on normal roads, you should cope perfectly well. Before the event, you should accustom yourself to your 4x4, and gain some experience of driving it in off-road conditions - why not come on one of our briefing days? The event does not require you to drive fast, and gives you time to find your feet - and our experts will be there to help. You should be reasonably hale, but do not need to be superfit. Age is no bar - many of our regular participants are in their 60s or even 70s.

Navigation

We will provide a user-friendly roadbook for the event which will include tulip diagrams, full colour maps, town plans, GPS coordinates, and other information to keep you on the correct route. This roadbook will also be your guide, giving background information and making sure you do not miss any of the highlights that have been found for you.

What are the roads like?

The route is approximately 7,000 miles (11,250km) in length. During the event, the condition of the roads will vary greatly. Sometimes we will use multilane highways to get quickly to an area of interest, but usually we will use back roads with both asphalt and gravel surfaces, travelling through interesting countryside. Many of the most beautiful, untouched locations are hidden away up roads that are in poor condition or are susceptible to bad weather. Although we plan to use some of these roads, we will receive up to date information on conditions enabling us to avoid the worst sections.

How will the event run?

Crews must sign out at the start and back in at the finish of each day, and possibly at one or two points in between. This is for your own safety as much as anything else. But we do not run in a nose to tail convoy. You are free to travel on your own or just with a small group of friends, to stop at places along the way, to explore local sights, and eat in little restaurants.

What kind of car is best, and will it need special preparation?

A reputable modern 4x4 with high ground clearance should cope perfectly well with all the conditions we are likely to meet. You will need to make sure that the suspension is in good condition, and that the vehicle is properly equipped, with long range fuel supply, extra spare wheel, good jack, and so on. We will issue you with detailed advice notes on vehicle choice and preparation, and you will be able to bring your vehicle along to one of our own brie.ng days and discuss it with one of our experts.

How do I get to Cape Town and back?

The entry fee includes shipment of your vehicle to and from Cape Town, from a port in the UK, continental Europe or North America (or any other part of the world). Our shipping agents will take care of all the hassle, and help you with the paperwork. The fee does not include your own personal travel to and from South Africa. We can help you with this, too (although you may find better fares on the Internet).

What kind of hotels do we stay in?

We use the highest standard of accommodation available. These include the luxurious international .ve star Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, and the highly exclusive Sabi Sabi Lodges on the cusp of the Kruger National Park. In smaller places, our lodging will vary from four star hotels with fully equipped air conditioned bedrooms, to more simple but pleasant National Park Rest Camps. On at least one night, we will be hosted by a small South African community in its little hotel, guest cabins and private homes. You must equip your vehicle with a tent and sleeping bags for emergency use. Our accommodation comes up to Western standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

What insurance cover will I need?

The entry fee includes generous personal accident and medical cover. You are responsible for arranging your own comprehensive vehicle cover, and your own travel insurance covering personal liability, theft or loss of personal effects, cancellation insurance (to cover you in the event that you would have to withdraw), etc.

What support do HERO provide?

The event will be accompanied by three management vehicles crewed by HERO's Event Director and other officials. Each of these vehicles will carry a satellite phone to ensure good communications wherever they are. One of these is a sweeper vehicle which will follow the route, crewed by a skilled mechanic with tools and other light equipment, and by the event doctor with an emergency medical kit. The event doctor will be present at each overnight halt to assist anyone taken ill. A fourth will run 48 hours ahead of the event, in order to check the road conditions and prepare each overnight halt for our arrival. Participants must however be aware that the event is potentially dangerous, and that the Organisers' resources are limited and may not be able to cope with a serious accident or mechanical breakdown. They should not take part unless they accept that there is an element of risk to themselves and their vehicles. Although the nature of the terrain may make it a demanding challenge, it is a friendly event whose object is to provide pleasure and comradeship. Participants are expected to show friendship, tolerance and helpfulness towards each other, of officials, other road users and the public. At overnight halts in bigger towns, we will where possible arrange for local motor traders to stay open, to provide workshop facilities, tyre repairs and replacements, etc.

Health

Any travel through remote areas brings with it a risk of health problems. Most of these are short term, trivial and easily avoided using common sense. Our Chief Medical Officer will circulate guidance notes and offer advice before the event on how to stay well. He will specify a medical kit to be carried by each crew, and will be travelling with his own comprehensive medical equipment to help out if any serious problems do arise.

What clothes will I need?

The temperatures will vary from the subtropical to the chilly, falling below zero at night. Bring a range of practical, comfortable clothes, bearing in mind that you may need to change a wheel at some time. You should be able to get clothes laundered during the rest days, so don't load yourselves down with a whole month's supply. Most evenings, smart casual dress is .ne; although you will need a jacket and tie for some special functions.

How much does it cost?

The entry fee of £23,500 includes the Adventure Drive itself; 29 nights bed and breakfast for two people sharing a twin or double room; pre-start welcome and grand .nale dinners; 27 other evening meals in your hotel or in speciality restaurants; other functions and receptions; rally number plates and door panels; a souvenir for all finishers; event clothing; detailed tulip roadbook; personal accident and medical insurance; return shipping.

Hotel upgrades to single room accommodation may be booked at extra cost, subject to availability. No refunds are available to participants not taking up accommodation booked for them, for whatever reason