The Adventure

Mike and Jeanette’s dream had always been to travel overland from Cape to Cairo. Members of Rotary, they wanted to use the Silver Spirit Adventure to show the world that dreams can be realised and to highlight the great work that Rotary International is doing throughout Africa. Unfortunately, the representative from Rotary fell ill and the opportunity to visit Rotary projects fell away.

Typical of Mike and Jeanette, both successful in business and veterans of aviation, the trip was carefully planned. First they contacted Roger Pearce, Chairman of Motorsport South Africa and veteran of many overland trips in Africa and overseas. Roger recruited Steve Pickering, a well travelled and adaptable mechanic and Marc Campbell Gibson, a paramedic who regularly flies the skies of Africa, carrying out Medi-vac operations.

Following Roger’s advice, Mike purchased a Toyota HiLux 4x4 as a backup vehicle. Then he bought another Silver Spirit, from which Roger ‘harvested’ spare parts. The HiLux was adapted to carry spare Rolls springs, wheels, axle and more.

Roger then carried out what is probably the most difficult part – planning the route, investigating the requirements for visas for the crew, a carnet for Egypt, insurance and accommodation. One thing was certain – if they wanted to make it through Africa they had to leave in time to miss ‘the rains’. This meant leaving by April 2008. Time was short.

Roger made one thing clear – this was not a sightseeing trip, but a journey. Sure, there would time to see some of the sights, but unfortunately no time for dallying. The plan – to reach London in 60 days.

Mike and Jeanette decided that they wanted to make a permanent record of the journey and persuaded Koos Roets, award winning cameraman and director, to join them. Koos, an adventurer himself, jumped at the chance.

Next Mike approached Chris Stevens of FullHouse to create this website as a record of the journey as it happened. Chris, with his experience of project management and fundraising for various charities, set to work, although time was short.

Chris found that the Silver Spirit Adventure generated a great deal of interest and that several companies were prepared to assist, if not financially. The journey of a Rolls from Cape to Cairo was a first and the ages of the adventurers made it all the more interesting. Chris started a media campaign.

Once people began to hear about the trip, public interest and excitement grew and suddenly the adventure snowballed into a major event. There were articles in the Sunday Times, Beeld, The Citizen, You/Huisgenoot, on 702 Talk Radio, Radio 2000 and SABC TV. 702 agreed to have a weekly radio interview with Mike and Jeanette and these were loaded onto the website.

Companies who gave support to the adventure included:

  - Daytona Motors, Rolls Royce agents in Johannesburg and Cape Town
  - Stormhoek Wines (through Origin Wine of the UK)
  - Campmaster
  - Sun International Hotel Group
  - Southern Sun Hotels
  - Hilton Hotel Group
  - Garmin and the JumpGarmin Skydiving Team
  - Origin Solutions (tracking equipment)
  - Ultraseal South Africa (through NoMorePunctures)
  - Evosat (satellite phones)

A grand sendoff was planned for Cape Town and another in Johannesburg, to say farewell to friends and supporters, before the real driving began.

Heen Zille, then Mayor of Cape Town, gave the Adventure a letter of greeting to the Governor of Cairo and the Lord Mayor of London.

This is but a short précis of the planning that took place.

 


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