Dozens of dare devil adventurers behind motor cars across the Sahara desert have started arriving in Banjul. They are the Plymouth- Banjul Challengers who booked to take up the challenge to drive from UK to Banjul for charity. The challenge is set by a committee based in The Gambia and UK which helped advise and distribute proceeds of the sale of the cars to support education, sports, health and other community projects in tThe Gambia.
Set up in 2002, the challenge initially called Plymouth- Dakar- Banjul rally was designed to tap from reputation of the famous Paris-Dakar Rally which used the same routes but was stopped many years ago for security reasons.
Among the first challengers is Erika and Janet driving on the ALa Colombiano, a small but steady car that took off from UK on Christmas day, stormed the desert and floated on ferries to Banjul.
“It was the craziest experience of my life. I and Janet are friends in London and we travelled a lot and during one of our holidays she came up with this idea of taking up the challenge and it stuck with me and we got in touch with the Challenge’s contact Julian Nowel in London and started our planning and we are thrilled we have made it to The Gambia in one piece,” said Erika .
“We knew it was a challenge so we got the car and since we are Colombian natives staying in UK we called it Ala Colombiano. The day came, on December 25, I finished work, went to meet Janet, had our coffee and kind of mentally prepared ourselves for what was to come. We know it will be some kind of adventure but we did know a lot about what to expect and so we hope for the best and set out. We knew of course we are in good company and here we are,” she said.
She said after crossing the ferry to France they set out to Spain where they chanced on other members of the challenge and together they talked out the modalities and different routes to get to Banjul. Then followed Morocco, Sahara, Mauritania. Senegal and The Gambia.
The story of the Bees Brothers was equally fascinating.
The challenges were welcome by George Gomez and a logistics committee. The cars would be auctioned and the proceeds given to deserving charities in the Gambia.