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  • Wieder ein Weltrekord – mit Glysantin® in Bestzeit durch drei Kontinente

    Freitag, der 11. September 2015, 10:00 Uhr. Nach der Unterzeichnung der offiziellen Weltrekord-Papiere durch die Leiterin der örtlichen Polizeibehörde startete die Cape to Cape Tour 2015 am Kap Agulhas, dem südlichsten Punkt Afrikas. Durch 21 Länder in Afrika, Asien und Europa führte die abenteuerliche Fahrt in einem VW Touareg V6 TDI bis zum Nordkap, dem nördlichsten Punkt Norwegens. Fester Bestandteil des Kühlsystems: Glysantin®. Das Weltrekord-Kühlerschutzmittel sorgte während der 9 Tage und 8 Stunden langen Fahrt rund um die Uhr für die reibungslose Funktion von Kühlsystem und Motor – selbst unter extremsten Bedingungen. Ob in der Gluthitze des Sudan, schnellen Etappen in der Sahara oder im Eisregen nördlich des Polarkreises – auf Glysantin® war auch diesmal wieder zur jeder Zeit Verlass. 

    Nach der erneuten Rekordfahrt kann sich Glysantin® nun stolz „mehrfaches Weltrekord-Kühlerschutzmittel“ nennen.

    Rainer Zietlow, der Mann der Rekorde
    Seit 2005 stellt sich der Mannheimer auf der ganzen Welt immer wieder neuen Herausforderungen. Mit einem VW Touareg fuhr er auf Chiles höchsten Vulkan, mit 6081 Metern der Höhenrekord für ein serienmäßiges Kraftfahrzeug. Mit einem erdgasbetriebenen VW Caddy umrundete er die Erde. Er absolvierte die Panamericana, durchquerte Russland und verband die beiden Partnerstädte Melbourne und St. Petersburg mit einer atemberaubenden Kurierfahrt.  2014 fuhr Zietlow erstmals die Cape to Cape Tour in Nord-Süd-Richtung – trotz Ausfallzeiten wegen eines Unfalls – in Rekordzeit. Jetzt hat er seinen damaligen Rekord entscheidend getoppt. 

    Alle Highlights der Tour mit Glysantin hier und auf www.touareg-c2c2.com 

    Rainers Blog

    Record Tour
    20. September 2015

    We've done it! The Touareg Cape to Cape 2.0 Challenge is complete, and Rainer Zeitlow, Marius Biela and Sam Roach are now World Record holders. Our arrival in the the Northernmost point of Norway, Norkapp at 14:00 today (Sunday) marked the end of the gruelling 19,000km route across 21 countries completed in just 9 days, 4 hours and 8 minutes. Given that our own target was to record a time of under 10 days, to come in 20 hours earlier than that is beyond all of our expectations. We are overjoyed to have completed the Cape to Cape 2.0 Challenge without any problems in such a spectacular time. All three of us are now pretty tired, a little achy and in need of a hot shower and good night's sleep (in an actual bed) after our non-stop 24 hour driving for the last 9 days – but we're thrilled with our achievement, and buzzing with the memories of the last 9 days. The Touareg V6 TDI has been the perfect companion for our trip: spacious enough for the three of us and all of our camera gear, plus our extra fuel tanks and spare wheels, but also delivering more than enough power from the TDI V6 engine to keep our average speeds so consistent throughout the drive. But above all, it is the sheer ruggedness of the Touareg that has impressed us all most over 19,000km of some of the worst roads on the planet. So this is our moment to again thank each and every one of our sponsors, and extend our extra special thanks to Volkswagen Bratislava, HP and Intel as our primary partners. Firstly we must mention Borbet and Goodyear for their exceptional rims and tyres, free from any damage or punctures in the most brutal of road conditions.  Intel, HP and Inmarsat together provided us with 100% reliable in-car communications solutions in even the remotest parts of our route, and effectively turned the Touareg into a rolling innovation centre allowing us to keep in touch with the outside world 24/7. HBM and IAV's advanced automotive sensors worked seamlessly with this connectivity to provide valuable data logging of the Touareg and the team throughout the challenge. Exide Batteries helped to keep up with the significant power demands of all of these on board electronic systems. 3M protected the Touareg with their Scotchgard covering on all of the front panels to save the paintwork from the stone and debris damage which is always one of the risks of a World Record drive. Getac's navigation tablet provided the essential navigation services faultlessly at every stage of the route, clearly readable even in the brightest sunshine, meaning that not once did we miss a turn or get lost. Glysantin's engine cooling liquid helped us to cross areas as hot as the Sahara desert at sustained high speed without the engine temperature once varying from where it should sit. Without every one of these partners, there would possibly be no new World Record today. Finally for now, a huge thanks to all of the supporters, fans, fixers, Volkswagen organisations and new friends that we have met along the route across the world, and those supporting us back at home, all of whom have really helped make a contribution to our success. Way too many to mention here but you all know who you are. A final quote from the man behind the Cape to Cape 2.0 Challenge, Rainer Zeitlow as we crossed the finish line in Nordkapp: "We are happy that we can now end our Cape to Cape project with this amazing time of 9 days, 4 hours. This feeling makes up for the disappointment of 2014's delays which meant we couldn't set a competitive time. I am also very proud that our route took us on the maximum possible driving distance, keeping our permitted flight over Syria to the absolute minimum possible distance. That's really important for me to know that we completed every possible km driving on the ground. Finally, please let me give my enormous thanks to all of my sponsors and partners again, plus all of the many people and organisations who have provided me and the team with their support behind the scenes across the Cape to Cape route." So, that's the final blog from the team of three in the Touareg. We hope that you've enjoyed the wonderful photography and videos from Marius throughout the route, and that our blog updates have given you a feeling for the experiences we've been having along the way.  Now, the three of us have finished; it is time for us to head off to a nearby hotel, get a hot shower, a quick bite to eat before beginning the job of catching up on our sleep. Thanks for following us, and for all your messages of support, Rainer, Marius, Sam

    We've done it! The Touareg Cape to Cape 2.0 Challenge is complete, and Rainer Zeitlow, Marius Biela and Sam Roach are now World Record holders. Our arrival in the the Northernmost point of Norway, Norkapp at 14:00 today (Sunday) marked the end of the gruelling 19,000km route across 21 countries completed in just 9 days, 4 hours and 8 minutes. Given that our own target was to record a time of under 10 days, to come in 20 hours earlier than that is beyond all of our expectations. Kristina Hansen, Mayor of Nordkapp, was waiting for us at the Cape and stamped and signed our official World Record papers, and with that the record becomes official. We are overjoyed to have completed the Cape to Cape 2.0 Challenge without any problems in such a spectacular time. All three of us are now pretty tired, a little achy and in need of a hot shower and good night's sleep (in an actual bed) after our non-stop 24 hour driving for the last 9 days - but we're thrilled with our achievement, and buzzing with the memories of the last 9 days. The Touareg V6 TDI has been the perfect companion for our trip: spacious enough for the three of us and all of our camera gear, plus our extra fuel tanks and spare wheels, but also delivering more than enough power from the TDI V6 engine to keep our average speeds so consistent throughout the drive. But above all, it is the sheer ruggedness of the Touareg that has impressed us all most over 19,000km of some of the worst roads on the planet. So this is our moment to again thank each and every one of our sponsors, and extend our extra special thanks to Volkswagen Bratislava, HP and Intel as our primary partners. Firstly we must mention Borbet and Goodyear for their exceptional rims and tyres, free from any damage or punctures in the most brutal of road conditions. Intel, HP and Inmarsat together provided us with 100% reliable in-car communications solutions in even the remotest parts of our route, and effectively turned the Touareg into a rolling innovation centre allowing us to keep in touch with the outside world 24/7. HBM and IAV's advanced automotive sensors worked seamlessly with this connectivity to provide valuable data logging of the Touareg and the team throughout the challenge. Exide Batteries helped to keep up with the significant power demands of all of these on board electronic systems. 3M protected the Touareg with their Scotchgard covering on all of the front panels to save the paintwork from the stone and debris damage which is always one of the risks of a World Record drive. Getac's navigation tablet provided the essential navigation services faultlessly at every stage of the route, clearly readable even in the brightest sunshine, meaning that not once did we miss a turn or get lost. Glysantin's engine cooling liquid helped us to cross areas as hot as the Sahara desert at sustained high speed without the engine temperature once varying from where it should sit. Without every one of these partners, there would possibly be no new World Record today. Finally for now, a huge thanks to all of the supporters, fans, fixers, Volkswagen organisations and new friends that we have met along the route across the world, and those supporting us back at home, all of whom have really helped make a contribution to our success. Way too many to mention here but you all know who you are. A final quote from the man behind the Cape to Cape 2.0 Challenge, Rainer Zeitlow as we crossed the finish line in Nordkapp: "We are happy that we can now end our Cape to Cape project with this amazing time of 9 days, 4 hours. This feeling makes up for the disappointment of 2014's delays which meant we couldn't set a competitive time. I am also very proud that our route took us on the maximum possible driving distance, keeping our permitted flight over Syria to the absolute minimum possible distance. That's really important for me to know that we completed every possible km driving on the ground. Finally, please let me give my enormous thanks to all of my sponsors and partners again, plus all of the many people and organisations who have provided me and the team with their support behind the scenes across the Cape to Cape route." So, that's the final blog from the team of three in the Touareg. We hope that you've enjoyed the wonderful photography and videos from Marius throughout the route, and that our blog updates have given you a feeling for the experiences we've been having along the way. Now, the three of us have finished; it is time for us to head off to a nearby hotel, get a hot shower, a quick bite to eat before beginning the job of catching up on our sleep. Thanks for following us, and for all your messages of support, Rainer, Marius, Sam

    20. September 2015

    It took us over 14 hours to cross Sweden from South to North through last night, which felt like a very long way for our now slightly tired team. At least Sweden has beautiful empty smooth roads – about as much of a contrast to the African road conditions we've experienced as it's possible to get! As dawn arrived, we crossed the Arctic Circle and then onwards into Finland, our penultimate country of the whole challenge. It has been an interesting experience to see these remote parts of Scandinavia. As you'd imagine, it's very empty indeed with pine forests and mirror-still lakes and cold-looking fjords cutting in and out. The houses are all in the same style, small wooden cottages painted in bright colours. But in general, after 19 hours crossing Scandinavia now, theses empty forest landscapes are losing a little bit of their appeal for the three of us. And so we cross into Norway. The country of our destination, Nordkapp. The temperature is down to 9 degrees , with an icy wind and occasional rain showers making it pretty unpleasant outside the Touareg. We still have 377km to travel North across the bleak and empty landscape of Norway, so we're far from finished just yet. But, the end is in sight, and we're starting to allow ourselves the idea that we could beat our ambition to finish in under 10 days quite nicely. The three of us are really staring to feel tired now. We've really given our all over the last 9 days, and to be honest there isn't a lot more left to give. But our spirits are high, the mood is good in the car. We are probably now running on adrenaline at the prospect of getting to that Northern Cape and claiming a new World Record within the coming hours. And let's not forget the fourth member of our team, the Touareg V6 TDI. No matter what the road can throw at is, it is continuing to soak up everything without complaint. It may be looking filthy and bit battered in places, but it is the hero of this challenge. Our next update will be after the finish – wish us luck! Sam

    It took us over 14 hours to cross Sweden from South to North through last night, which felt like a very long way for our now slightly tired team. At least Sweden has beautiful empty smooth roads - about as much of a contrast to the African road conditions we've experienced as it's possible to get! As dawn arrived, we crossed the Arctic Circle and then onwards into Finland, our penultimate country of the whole challenge. It has been an interesting experience to see these remote parts of Scandinavia. As you'd imagine, it's very empty indeed with pine forests and mirror-still lakes and cold-looking fjords cutting in and out. The houses are all in the same style, small wooden cottages painted in bright colours. But in general, after 19 hours crossing Scandinavia now, theses empty forest landscapes are losing a little bit of their appeal for the three of us. And so we cross into Norway. The country of our destination, Nordkapp. The temperature is down to 9 degrees , with an icy wind and occasional rain showers making it pretty unpleasant outside the Touareg. We still have 377km to travel North across the bleak and empty landscape of Norway, so we're far from finished just yet. But, the end is in sight, and we're starting to allow ourselves the idea that we could beat our ambition to finish in under 10 days quite nicely. The three of us are really staring to feel tired now. We've really given our all over the last 9 days, and to be honest there isn't a lot more left to give. But our spirits are high, the mood is good in the car. We are probably now running on adrenaline at the prospect of getting to that Northern Cape and claiming a new World Record within the coming hours. And let's not forget the fourth member of our team, the Touareg V6 TDI. No matter what the road can throw at is, it is continuing to soak up everything without complaint. It may be looking filthy and bit battered in places, but it is the hero of this challenge. Our next update will be after the finish - wish us luck! Sam

    19. September 2015

    After saying goodbye to the Touareg Club Slovakia last night, we then headed to the nearby Volkswagen factory in Bratislava. This ultra-modern plant is where all Touaregs are produced. Alongside the main factory is the Pilot Hall, a workshop for prototype and special builds. The Pilot Hall is a secret treasure trove behind locked doors where our special World Record vehicle was built by the best engineers and technicians. So we wanted to take the chance for a checkover on the vehicle by the people who built it after all the punishment it has taken on the journey so far. Stopping in for a full service, we also got a comprehensive check over up on the ramp, and took the first chance all trip for the full data download from the additional data logging system that our car has fitted. While the engineers were doing their thing, we took the chance for a bit of maintenance of our own: a hot shower in the factory's workers changing rooms. Very impressive facilities, and a welcome chance to freshen up. A great job by the Juray and Lubosch and their top team of Bratislava technicians for that special night service. As well as our gratitude to the Volkswagen factory, we'd like to use today's blog to add our thanks to all our supporters from Volkswagen organisations throughout our route: Barons N1 Volkswagen Dealer in Cape Town, Hatfield VW Bryanston in Johannesburg, and to Volkswagen Kenya, Volkswagen Jordan and Volkswagen Turkey. Special thanks and acknowledgement are due to the two countries who make the major contribution of cars and manpower to get us smoothly through their countries: from Volkswagen Sudan, Mr Ali of El-Safwa Automobile Co. and to the team at Volkswagen Egypt. Both countries have supported us in previous years and have always been there for us. Without the special help of all these Volkswagen organisations and their local resources and knowledge, this Challenge may well not have happened. So, with a clean bill of health for the Touareg, it was time to get on the move again. Marius took the wheel for the long night shift, driving us through Czech Republic into Germany, past Dresden up to Berlin then right up to the very North of the country while Rainer and I snatched some sleep. After the efficient 45 minute ferry crossing across to Denmark this lunchtime, the Oresund bridge and tunnel crossing to Sweden followed soon after Reaching Scandinavia feels like we are entering the final chapter of this extraordinary challenge. Nevertheless, now we are faced with the drive across it, Scandinavia's size has been a surprise to me. We still have to cover the full length of Sweden, cross the Arctic Circle, then across the North of Finland before the final push North towards Nordkapp in Norway. At the moment, the roads are immaculate, smooth and empty with nothing but forests stretching as far as the eye can see. All through the first 7 days of the challenge, the end felt so very, very far away from us that we didn't really have Nordkapp anywhere near the front of our minds. In those early days of the drive, it was more just an awareness that we had to keep pushing ourselves against the clock as hard as we could, and we'd think about the time later on. We simply had so much else to concentrate on and take in from the amazing surroundings and challenges of Africa and the Middle East. But now as our surroundings have become more comfortable and familiar to us, we have the time to reflect on how close we are getting to claiming the World Record. We had always set ourselves the objective of completing the challenge in under ten days (which many thought impossible). With a couple of thousand kilometres to complete through Scandinavia's empty, high quality roads, it now feels that only very bad luck could stop us from achieving that. Feels like there's almost more pressure on us all now, as to be hit by any setbacks at this late stage would be too much to bear… We will update you with a final blog from the road tomorrow morning; then, all being well, assuming luck is with us, another later tomorrow to announce the completion of the Challenge and the establishment of a new World Record. With the pressure growing, we are now heading into what will hopefully be our last night in the Touareg. Sam

    After saying goodbye to the Touareg Club Slovakia last night, we then headed to the nearby Volkswagen factory in Bratislava. This ultra-modern plant is where all Touaregs are produced. Alongside the main factory is the Pilot Hall, a workshop for prototype and special builds. The Pilot Hall is a secret treasure trove behind locked doors where our special World Record vehicle was built by the best engineers and technicians. So we wanted to take the chance for a checkover on the vehicle by the people who built it after all the punishment it has taken on the journey so far. Stopping in for a full service, we also got a comprehensive check over up on the ramp, and took the first chance all trip for the full data download from the additional data logging system that our car has fitted. While the engineers were doing their thing, we took the chance for a bit of maintenance of our own: a hot shower in the factory's workers changing rooms. Very impressive facilities, and a welcome chance to freshen up. A great job by the Juray and Lubosch and their top team of Bratislava technicians for that special night service. As well as our gratitude to the Volkswagen factory, we'd like to use today's blog to add our thanks to all our supporters from Volkswagen organisations throughout our route: Barons N1 Volkswagen Dealer in Cape Town, Hatfield VW Bryanston in Johannesburg, and to Volkswagen Kenya, Volkswagen Jordan and Volkswagen Turkey. Special thanks and acknowledgement are due to the two countries who make the major contribution of cars and manpower to get us smoothly through their countries: from Volkswagen Sudan, Mr Ali of El-Safwa Automobile Co. and to the team at Volkswagen Egypt. Both countries have supported us in previous years and have always been there for us. Without the special help of all these Volkswagen organisations and their local resources and knowledge, this Challenge may well not have happened. So, with a clean bill of health for the Touareg, it was time to get on the move again. Marius took the wheel for the long night shift, driving us through Czech Republic into Germany, past Dresden up to Berlin then right up to the very North of the country while Rainer and I snatched some sleep. After the efficient 45 minute ferry crossing across to Denmark this lunchtime, the Oresund bridge and tunnel crossing to Sweden followed soon after Reaching Scandinavia feels like we are entering the final chapter of this extraordinary challenge. Nevertheless, now we are faced with the drive across it, Scandinavia's size has been a surprise to me. We still have to cover the full length of Sweden, cross the Arctic Circle, then across the North of Finland before the final push North towards Nordkapp in Norway. At the moment, the roads are immaculate, smooth and empty with nothing but forests stretching as far as the eye can see. All through the first 7 days of the challenge, the end felt so very, very far away from us that we didn't really have Nordkapp anywhere near the front of our minds. In those early days of the drive, it was more just an awareness that we had to keep pushing ourselves against the clock as hard as we could, and we'd think about the time later on. We simply had so much else to concentrate on and take in from the amazing surroundings and challenges of Africa and the Middle East. But now as our surroundings have become more comfortable and familiar to us, we have the time to reflect on how close we are getting to claiming the World Record. We had always set ourselves the objective of completing the challenge in under ten days (which many thought impossible). With a couple of thousand kilometres to complete through Scandinavia's empty, high quality roads, it now feels that only very bad luck could stop us from achieving that. Feels like there's almost more pressure on us all now, as to be hit by any setbacks at this late stage would be too much to bear... We will update you with a final blog from the road tomorrow morning; then, all being well, assuming luck is with us, another later tomorrow to announce the completion of the Challenge and the establishment of a new World Record. With the pressure growing, we are now heading into what will hopefully be our last night in the Touareg. Sam

    18. September 2015

    After our memorable flight in the Cargo plane over Syria, we then had great drive through Turkey overnight keeping up good average speeds on the empty motorways. We reached Istanbul at around 03:00 and as we crossed the Bosphorus bridge there, we entered the continent of Europe. So we have driven in all three continents of our journey (Africa, Asia, Europe) in the last 30 hours; we guess that may be a worldwide mini-record within a record! Reaching Europe from the Southern tip of Africa, Cap Agulhas has taken us well under 7 days - an almost unbelievable achievement so far. Our spirits were very high at the prospect of completing the journey within our 'dream' objective of ten days. However, our return to Europe brought the unexpected and very unwelcome news that with the worsening migrant crisis in Eastern Europe, the borders that we need to pass through to get into the European Union were fully closed to all traffic today. With these closed, we were also hearing of delays of many hours at those crossings that remain open. As we drove through Bulgaria this morning headed towards the EU border, escorted by our friends from the local Volkswagen Club Bulgaria, we were desperately trying to get information via our Inmarsat satellite phone and internet as we drove to see what other options we could find. Along with our helpers at Kuehne & Nagel logistics, we tracked down a small country border between Serbia and Hungary (our first EU country) that was still open. The border staff were pre-warned of our arrival, waved us right to the front of the queue and let us through in no time. We had been so concerned that after all of the planning, the preparation and the research that has gone into getting us smoothly through some of the most difficult borders in the world without problems, there could be a chance that our World Record would be compromised by being unable to re-enter the European Union. But thankfully, all problems avoided with the help of some great partners and friends. From Hungary, we made good progress through Slovakia's modern, smooth motorways for our next destination – Bratlslava, the home of the Touareg, and where our special World Record vehicle was hand-built. Here, we stopped off to meet the super-enthusiastic Touareg Club Slovakia for some quick chats and group photographs. What a nice, helpful and knowledgable group they are, and some really beautiful Touaregs in the club too. In the end we stayed longer than we meant, enjoying their hospitality and enthusiasm! Now we are about to leave Bratislava behind us for our final push North. From here towards Prague in Czech Republic, then right through Germany up to the North. With luck we'll catch the ferry to Denmark at some point during tonight. Therefore, our next update tomorrow morning should be coming from somewhere in Scandinavia – which really makes us feel like our World Record attempt is now on the home straight. Sam

    After our memorable flight in the Cargo plane over Syria, we then had great drive through Turkey overnight keeping up good average speeds on the empty motorways. We reached Istanbul at around 03:00 and as we crossed the Bosphorus bridge there, we entered the continent of Europe. So we have driven in all three continents of our journey (Africa, Asia, Europe) in the last 30 hours; we guess that may be a worldwide mini-record within a record! Reaching Europe from the Southern tip of Africa, Cap Agulhas has taken us well under 7 days - an almost unbelievable achievement so far. Our spirits were very high at the prospect of completing the journey within our 'dream' objective of ten days. However, our return to Europe brought the unexpected and very unwelcome news that with the worsening migrant crisis in Eastern Europe, the borders that we need to pass through to get into the European Union were fully closed to all traffic today. With these closed, we were also hearing of delays of many hours at those crossings that remain open. As we drove through Bulgaria this morning headed towards the EU border, escorted by our friends from the local Volkswagen Club Bulgaria, we were desperately trying to get information via our Inmarsat satellite phone and internet as we drove to see what other options we could find. Along with our helpers at Kuehne & Nagel logistics, we tracked down a small country border between Serbia and Hungary (our first EU country) that was still open. The border staff were pre-warned of our arrival, waved us right to the front of the queue and let us through in no time. We had been so concerned that after all of the planning, the preparation and the research that has gone into getting us smoothly through some of the most difficult borders in the world without problems, there could be a chance that our World Record would be compromised by being unable to re-enter the European Union. But thankfully, all problems avoided with the help of some great partners and friends. From Hungary, we made good progress through Slovakia's modern, smooth motorways for our next destination - Bratlslava, the home of the Touareg, and where our special World Record vehicle was hand-built. Here, we stopped off to meet the super-enthusiastic Touareg Club Slovakia for some quick chats and group photographs. What a nice, helpful and knowledgable group they are, and some really beautiful Touaregs in the club too. In the end we stayed longer than we meant, enjoying their hospitality and enthusiasm! Now we are about to leave Bratislava behind us for our final push North. From here towards Prague in Czech Republic, then right through Germany up to the North. With luck we'll catch the ferry to Denmark at some point during tonight. Therefore, our next update tomorrow morning should be coming from somewhere in Scandinavia - which really makes us feel like our World Record attempt is now on the home straight. Sam

    18. September 2015

    With Syria out of the question to travel through, we have been given World Record dispensation to fly ourselves (and the Touareg) from Jordan to Turkey. We chose the two airports that were the closest possible to Syria to keep our flying to a minimum and driving to a maximum. And so, we arrived at Adanna freight airport and drove the Touareg straight up the back of our plane for the flight to Adana, Turkey. The Russian crew of the Antanov 74 cargo plane were ready and waiting for us and within minutes of arriving, Rainer drove the Touareg up the rear loading ramp, the crew strapped it down and we were ready to fly. After a quick passport and customs check we were given the go ahead to take off. Flying in a cargo plane is a very different experience to a commercial airline. We were free to sit (or stand) wherever we wanted, either in the cockpit or sitting in the loading area with the Touareg. Naturally, all three of us chose the cockpit for take off and landing which was an amazing experience to watch up close. The flight was 120 minutes long. Unloading was as quick as loading was, with a few minutes of customs and passport checks then we were free to drive off the airport and get on our way. We would like to thank to Kuehne & Nagel in Jordan and Turkey as well as Air Charter Services in Frankfurt for their great services. Sam

    With Syria out of the question to travel through, we have been given World Record dispensation to fly ourselves (and the Touareg) from Jordan to Turkey. We chose the two airports that were the closest possible to Syria to keep our flying to a minimum and driving to a maximum. And so, we arrived at Adanna freight airport and drove the Touareg straight up the back of our plane for the flight to Adana, Turkey. The Russian crew of the Antanov 74 cargo plane were ready and waiting for us and within minutes of arriving, Rainer drove the Touareg up the rear loading ramp, the crew strapped it down and we were ready to fly. After a quick passport and customs check we were given the go ahead to take off. Flying in a cargo plane is a very different experience to a commercial airline. We were free to sit (or stand) wherever we wanted, either in the cockpit or sitting in the loading area with the Touareg. Naturally, all three of us chose the cockpit for take off and landing which was an amazing experience to watch up close. The flight was 120 minutes long. Unloading was as quick as loading was, with a few minutes of customs and passport checks then we were free to drive off the airport and get on our way. We would like to thank to Kuehne & Nagel in Jordan and Turkey as well as Air Charter Services in Frankfurt for their great services. Sam

    17. September 2015

    Late last night, we made a brief stop after the Suez Tunnel, Egypt to grab a bit of food. To our amazement in the carpark we met some other long-distance car travellers. The Zapp family (parents Herman and Candelaria, plus 4 lovely young children) set off from Argentina 15 years ago in a big old 1928 American car (a Graham-Paige, if anyone's ever heard of that) with a dream to travel the world in this dignified but ancient automobile. All four children have been born on their travels, and everything that this family of six needs to live is strapped to the car, including a tent on the roof, and kitchen strapped to the back. The contrast between their travels in their car, and our Challenge in our Touareg could not be more different, but we all felt we had something in common to share in that late night Egyptian carpark. What a pleasure to get a glimpse inside their astonishing life; but as ever, our clock was running and we had to wave them goodbye and get off into the night. After taking the long route around the full Southern coast road of Egypt's Sinai peninsula through the night, we finally said goodbye to our two great long-term Egyptian fixers Hatem and Turbo at the border. They had travelled the whole 24 hours through their country alongside us through to reach Taba, the border point with Israel. It took around an hour to get through the process of leaving Egypt; then we moved 100m through to the adjoining Israeli border. We were only entering Israel to travel 15 minutes inside the country to get to our exit point to Jordan at the Rabin border - our exit point was almost visible from our entry point. But nevertheless at 04:00 began a 2 and a half hour border procedure. We had to remove every single item from the car to be put through x-rays and inspection. The Touareg itself had to be x–rayed. Vehicle documentation, engine and chassis number verification come next. Passport checking took a further 45 minutes. Finally, after all this and with everything loaded back up again we could set off to cover the mere 10km through the seaside town of Eilat, Israel. Eilat is a popular holiday resort in a beautiful location, at the far end of the Red Sea. Politically it's a in quite a hot-spot; from the Israeli beach you can see Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian beaches within a couple of km of you. We passed easily through the town much too early for the holidaymakers to be awake. So came the exit control from Israel (which thankfully wasn't quite as demanding as the entrance procedure), and our entry into the Jordanian border control. Again, our local fixers from both sides helped to smooth us through the paperwork, and after another hour or so we were finally able to get moving properly into Jordan. All in all, about 5 hours of border procedures to cover the three countries, and no more than 10km travelled in this time. Frustrating for our progress, but it comes as no surprise. We are now approaching the capital city Amman after a three hour drive North through the parched dry land of Jordan. Once we reach Amman, we are heading straight to the airport where our own Antanov 74 cargo plane is already waiting for us. With Syria way too risky to consider passing through, we have dispensation for the World Record to fly over the troubled country from the very Northern airport of Jordan over to Adana, the most Easterly airport in neighbouring Turkey. We will drive the Touareg up the rear access ramp into the body of the plane, have it strapped down tightly, and take our places on the jump seats in the cockpit. Excited? You bet. We will update you from the other end of the flight in Turkey. Sam

    Late last night, we made a brief stop after the Suez Tunnel, Egypt to grab a bit of food. To our amazement in the carpark we met some other long-distance car travellers. The Zapp family (parents Herman and Candelaria, plus 4 lovely young children) set off from Argentina 15 years ago in a big old 1928 American car (a Graham-Paige, if anyone's ever heard of that) with a dream to travel the world in this dignified but ancient automobile. All four children have been born on their travels, and everything that this family of six needs to live is strapped to the car, including a tent on the roof, and kitchen strapped to the back. The contrast between their travels in their car, and our Challenge in our Touareg could not be more different, but we all felt we had something in common to share in that late night Egyptian carpark. What a pleasure to get a glimpse inside their astonishing life; but as ever, our clock was running and we had to wave them goodbye and get off into the night. After taking the long route around the full Southern coast road of Egypt's Sinai peninsula through the night, we finally said goodbye to our two great long-term Egyptian fixers Hatem and Turbo at the border. They had travelled the whole 24 hours through their country alongside us through to reach Taba, the border point with Israel. It took around an hour to get through the process of leaving Egypt; then we moved 100m through to the adjoining Israeli border. We were only entering Israel to travel 15 minutes inside the country to get to our exit point to Jordan at the Rabin border - our exit point was almost visible from our entry point. But nevertheless at 04:00 began a 2 and a half hour border procedure. We had to remove every single item from the car to be put through x-rays and inspection. The Touareg itself had to be x-rayed. Vehicle documentation, engine and chassis number verification come next. Passport checking took a further 45 minutes. Finally, after all this and with everything loaded back up again we could set off to cover the mere 10km through the seaside town of Eilat, Israel. Eilat is a popular holiday resort in a beautiful location, at the far end of the Red Sea. Politically it's a in quite a hot-spot; from the Israeli beach you can see Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian beaches within a couple of km of you. We passed easily through the town much too early for the holidaymakers to be awake. So came the exit control from Israel (which thankfully wasn't quite as demanding as the entrance procedure), and our entry into the Jordanian border control. Again, our local fixers from both sides helped to smooth us through the paperwork, and after another hour or so we were finally able to get moving properly into Jordan. All in all, about 5 hours of border procedures to cover the three countries, and no more than 10km travelled in this time. Frustrating for our progress, but it comes as no surprise. We are now approaching the capital city Amman after a three hour drive North through the parched dry land of Jordan. Once we reach Amman, we are heading straight to the airport where our own Antanov 74 cargo plane is already waiting for us. With Syria way too risky to consider passing through, we have dispensation for the World Record to fly over the troubled country from the very Northern airport of Jordan over to Adana, the most Easterly airport in neighbouring Turkey. We will drive the Touareg up the rear access ramp into the body of the plane, have it strapped down tightly, and take our places on the jump seats in the cockpit. Excited? You bet. We will update you from the other end of the flight in Turkey. Sam

    16. September 2015

    Our convoy of the Touareg and our four Egyptian fixers in their two Volkswagen Tiguans headed North from the border after a friendly welcome from all the officials there. Our route took us through the Sahara desert on a virtually empty dead straight road. With the temperatures up to 43 degrees even in the morning and a strong hot wind blowing, it was a shock to step out of the air-conditioning in the Touareg. I have mentioned our 'fixers' a few times in these blogs over the past few days. It's worth explaining a little more about the vital service they provide to our World Record Attempt. Each border that we have crossed in Africa has had its own unique procedures. At the worst, there are 4 or 5 different offices or windows, each with a long queue to get a different piece of paperwork completed for visas, car paperwork, or medical certifications (such as yellow fever or ebola). At most borders, that process is needed to exit the country you are leaving, then straight away again to enter the next. You can imagine how difficult this could be for us to navigate, especially in the countries that don't use English. One incorrect stamp or missing authorisation, or even one grumpy official could cost us hours. This is where the local 'fixer' comes in. He is a local who will help us through every stage of the process, who will know the border officials and how to get through the seemingly endless bureaucracy and payments. Each one of our fixers has been invaluable to us. In the case of our Egyptian friends, they are driving the 24 hours non-stop with us through the night to help us through the many police check-points and finally to help us exit Egypt at the other end. That's commitment, and we would have struggled to get this far without all of these guys through Africa. The first town we reached today was Luxor, on the Nile. The empty desert gave way to a sudden strip of fertile greenery around the town. At the first of the many police checkpoints on the road, a police motorbike escort took the lead of our convoy to get us through the town at high speed, clearing traffic and stopping junctions in front of us. Out of Luxor and back into the desert, and two more police motorcycles lead our little convoy at high speed along Southern Egypt's clear fast roads.  We are achieving some great average speeds today with the help of the Egyptian police. We got an extra benefit from our police escort as our fearless cameraman Marius climbed onto the back of one of the police bikes, sitting backwards, to get some great tracking photography of the three cars through the desert. Marius will do anything for the perfect shot! From Luxor we drove through the desert for 9 hours without seeing a single sign of life. Not a single town, not a tree or bush, not an animal anywhere to be seen. It's amazing for a European to see so much empty space. Nevertheless, the desert is a very spectacular sight to have experienced up close. We've had some enjoyable distractions on the way watching the trucks full of camels or cows, and the old overladen Peugeot 504s from the 1970s that seem to still be the most popular car in Egypt. As the desert came to an end, we looped around Cairo (with a Police Jeep getting us through the traffic and checkpoints this time) to head East towards Suez, where we took the long tunnel underneath the giant ship canal. Our local friends have arranged some very welcome food for us at the other side of the tunnel; good as our on-board sandwich service has been over the last 5 days, we'll allow ourselves a short stop to enjoy a quick hot meal. After food, we're heading into the Sinai peninsula and entering the continent of Asia. This area has the potential to be the biggest security concern for us in the whole trip. Rather than taking the more direct routes through the North or central Sinai, as a precaution we will be driving around the longest route option with a police escort all the way. This takes us South, right around the Red Sea coast of Sinai, through holiday resorts such as Sharm el-Sheikh. This diversion will add many hours on to our journey, but with an element of risk in the North of the peninsula, it's a sacrifice we need to make. By the next update tomorrow morning, we should have entered Israel, then into Jordan. From Jordan, our own Antanov freight aircraft will be waiting for us to fly us and the Touareg over Syria to Adana in Turkey – which should be a fantastic experience! Sam

    Our convoy of the Touareg and our four Egyptian fixers in their two Volkswagen Tiguans headed North from the border after a friendly welcome from all the officials there. Our route took us through the Sahara desert on a virtually empty dead straight road. With the temperatures up to 43 degrees even in the morning and a strong hot wind blowing, it was a shock to step out of the air-conditioning in the Touareg. I have mentioned our 'fixers' a few times in these blogs over the past few days. It's worth explaining a little more about the vital service they provide to our World Record Attempt. Each border that we have crossed in Africa has had its own unique procedures. At the worst, there are 4 or 5 different offices or windows, each with a long queue to get a different piece of paperwork completed for visas, car paperwork, or medical certifications (such as yellow fever or ebola). At most borders, that process is needed to exit the country you are leaving, then straight away again to enter the next. You can imagine how difficult this could be for us to navigate, especially in the countries that don't use English. One incorrect stamp or missing authorisation, or even one grumpy official could cost us hours. This is where the local 'fixer' comes in. He is a local who will help us through every stage of the process, who will know the border officials and how to get through the seemingly endless bureaucracy and payments. Each one of our fixers has been invaluable to us. In the case of our Egyptian friends, they are driving the 24 hours non-stop with us through the night to help us through the many police check-points and finally to help us exit Egypt at the other end. That's commitment, and we would have struggled to get this far without all of these guys through Africa. The first town we reached today was Luxor, on the Nile. The empty desert gave way to a sudden strip of fertile greenery around the town. At the first of the many police checkpoints on the road, a police motorbike escort took the lead of our convoy to get us through the town at high speed, clearing traffic and stopping junctions in front of us. Out of Luxor and back into the desert, and two more police motorcycles lead our little convoy at high speed along Southern Egypt's clear fast roads. We are achieving some great average speeds today with the help of the Egyptian police. We got an extra benefit from our police escort as our fearless cameraman Marius climbed onto the back of one of the police bikes, sitting backwards, to get some great tracking photography of the three cars through the desert. Marius will do anything for the perfect shot! From Luxor we drove through the desert for 9 hours without seeing a single sign of life. Not a single town, not a tree or bush, not an animal anywhere to be seen. It's amazing for a European to see so much empty space. Nevertheless, the desert is a very spectacular sight to have experienced up close. We've had some enjoyable distractions on the way watching the trucks full of camels or cows, and the old overladen Peugeot 504s from the 1970s that seem to still be the most popular car in Egypt. As the desert came to an end, we looped around Cairo (with a Police Jeep getting us through the traffic and checkpoints this time) to head East towards Suez, where we took the long tunnel underneath the giant ship canal. Our local friends have arranged some very welcome food for us at the other side of the tunnel; good as our on-board sandwich service has been over the last 5 days, we'll allow ourselves a short stop to enjoy a quick hot meal. After food, we're heading into the Sinai peninsula and entering the continent of Asia. This area has the potential to be the biggest security concern for us in the whole trip. Rather than taking the more direct routes through the North or central Sinai, as a precaution we will be driving around the longest route option with a police escort all the way. This takes us South, right around the Red Sea coast of Sinai, through holiday resorts such as Sharm el-Sheikh. This diversion will add many hours on to our journey, but with an element of risk in the North of the peninsula, it's a sacrifice we need to make. By the next update tomorrow morning, we should have entered Israel, then into Jordan. From Jordan, our own Antanov freight aircraft will be waiting for us to fly us and the Touareg over Syria to Adana in Turkey - which should be a fantastic experience! Sam

    16. September 2015

    After the shock of being told that the Ehthiopian/Sundanese border was closed on our arrival there yesterday, we were more than relieved to get on our way into Sudan. After the green and mountainous surroundings of Ethiopia, the contrast was striking. Sudan is completely flat, and dry dusty desert stretches from South to North. Our road runs dead straight right through this featureless landscape. We were travelling through Sudan in convoy with our fixer Midhat and his team in a Volkswagen Amarok. Our first leg of the journey was a 5 hour stretch in the dark to the capital Khartoum. With no bends, hills or any features, at least we had our full concentration for the terrible state of some Sudanese vehicles. We passed many cars, motorbikes and trucks in the dark on a fast two-lane road with absolutely no lights, which can really be a frightening experience particularly with the amount of overtaking we had to do. We also met a donkey, standing calmly in the middle of the road just staring at all the on coming traffic towards him at it at 120kph. We have started to develop a routine for the driving between the three of us across each 24 hours. Marius, who's amazing photography accompany each of these blogs, has a bit of a skill for night driving so he typically takes the wheel from 01:00 through to 07:00 whilst Rainer and myself do our best to get some sleep. Rainer always takes the lead for driving during the day, as he is by far our most experienced driver in Africa. I tend to take a short stint in the morning and the afternoon to give Rainer a break, then my long drive tends to be 19:00 through to handover to Marius again at 01:00. It's become our tradition that whoever is sitting in our single back seat makes some breakfast for the team; it may only be a small fridge, but we can still take some pride in our catering skills. We arrived in the capital city Khartoum around midnight. The city was still busy at that time, with food stalls and shops spilling out to the edge of the road. The dust was heavy in the air, making it feel like driving through fog at times. We crossed the Nile there, as it winds its way through the city. After a quick shop and refuel, Marius took the wheel to head out onto the empty straight highway across the Sahara Desert, due North up the Nile valley for the 6 hour push through to the Egyptian border. After leaving the city limits, we barely saw another vehicle for that whole time. Around 06:30 this morning, with the hazy sun rising over the desert we arrived at the Western Nile border control into Egypt. There at the border waiting for us were our fixer team who will now accompany us right across Egypt just to ensure all goes smoothly. What a great welcome from Hatem and Turbo, and Volkswagen Egypt who have arrived with two stickered Volkswagen Tiguans to escort us across their country. Quite a convoy we have! And so, as we're now over half way through the Challenge, its time to begin the next stage of our adventure with a country and region that I am excited to see more of. At the moment we are continuing our drive through the vast empty Sahara on the Egyptian side but as we travel North it is sure to change again. Look forward to next updating you this evening. Sam

    After the shock of being told that the Ehthiopian/Sundanese border was closed on our arrival there yesterday, we were more than relieved to get on our way into Sudan. After the green and mountainous surroundings of Ethiopia, the contrast was striking. Sudan is completely flat, and dry dusty desert stretches from South to North. Our road runs dead straight right through this featureless landscape. We were travelling through Sudan in convoy with our fixer Midhat and his team in a Volkswagen Amarok. Our first leg of the journey was a 5 hour stretch in the dark to the capital Khartoum. With no bends, hills or any features, at least we had our full concentration for the terrible state of some Sudanese vehicles. We passed many cars, motorbikes and trucks in the dark on a fast two-lane road with absolutely no lights, which can really be a frightening experience particularly with the amount of overtaking we had to do. We also met a donkey, standing calmly in the middle of the road just staring at all the on coming traffic towards him at it at 120kph. We have started to develop a routine for the driving between the three of us across each 24 hours. Marius, who's amazing photography accompany each of these blogs, has a bit of a skill for night driving so he typically takes the wheel from 01:00 through to 07:00 whilst Rainer and myself do our best to get some sleep. Rainer always takes the lead for driving during the day, as he is by far our most experienced driver in Africa. I tend to take a short stint in the morning and the afternoon to give Rainer a break, then my long drive tends to be 19:00 through to handover to Marius again at 01:00. It's become our tradition that whoever is sitting in our single back seat makes some breakfast for the team; it may only be a small fridge, but we can still take some pride in our catering skills. We arrived in the capital city Khartoum around midnight. The city was still busy at that time, with food stalls and shops spilling out to the edge of the road. The dust was heavy in the air, making it feel like driving through fog at times. We crossed the Nile there, as it winds its way through the city. After a quick shop and refuel, Marius took the wheel to head out onto the empty straight highway across the Sahara Desert, due North up the Nile valley for the 6 hour push through to the Egyptian border. After leaving the city limits, we barely saw another vehicle for that whole time. Around 06:30 this morning, with the hazy sun rising over the desert we arrived at the Western Nile border control into Egypt. There at the border waiting for us were our fixer team who will now accompany us right across Egypt just to ensure all goes smoothly. What a great welcome from Hatem and Turbo, and Volkswagen Egypt who have arrived with two stickered Volkswagen Tiguans to escort us across their country. Quite a convoy we have! And so, as we're now over half way through the Challenge, its time to begin the next stage of our adventure with a country and region that I am excited to see more of. At the moment we are continuing our drive through the vast empty Sahara on the Egyptian side but as we travel North it is sure to change again. Look forward to next updating you this evening. Sam

    15. September 2015

    To finish our time in Ethiopia, we enjoyed a very scenic and varied drive to the Sudanese border at Metima. Again, the Ethiopian landscape was stunning at every turn, with mountains, valleys, waterfalls – and at last some completely smooth roads. A great way to finish our time in Ethiopia. As all of us were pretty tired from last night's drive, along with the difficulties we had sleeping while the car was being bounced around on the rough roads. So we left it to Rainer to complete the driving in Ethiopia. Rainer, as the Cape to Cape Challenge Manager has got a huge amount of experience of driving on African roads which makes a real difference to how we can keep our average speeds up safely with the many challenges that these roads throw at us. We reached the Sudanese border slightly ahead of schedule, only to be told that it was closed, and had been for the last 2 weeks. We could not get any explanation why. This really looked like it could spell disaster for our World Record attempt right there and then. But these things are never just left to chance, and thankfully our Sudanese 'fixer' Midhat was waiting at the border to meet us. After some involved discussion with the officials, he somehow got our crossing approved, and we were waved through the checkpoint into Sudan, the only vehicle to get through for 2 weeks. Disaster averted, Midhat will now be one of a team of 4 locals to escort us through the whole length of Sudan through tonight in high-speed convoy with our Touareg in a Volkswagen Amarok kindly supplied for this job by Volkswagen Sudan. We will update you tomorrow morning with our trip through Sudan to the capital Khartoum then North out into the empty Sudanese desert headed for the Egyptian border. As a quick further update, we let you know a couple of days ago that our route-logging tracker on the website had failed to capture the first part of our journey through South Africa. Well, it has now been updated by manually inputting the correct GPS data collected from our other Inmarsat tracker so that it now accurately logs the whole route so far. Sam

    To finish our time in Ethiopia, we enjoyed a very scenic and varied drive to the Sudanese border at Metima. Again, the Ethiopian landscape was stunning at every turn, with mountains, valleys, waterfalls - and at last some completely smooth roads. A great way to finish our time in Ethiopia. As all of us were pretty tired from last night's drive, along with the difficulties we had sleeping while the car was being bounced around on the rough roads. So we left it to Rainer to complete the driving in Ethiopia. Rainer, as the Cape to Cape Challenge Manager has got a huge amount of experience of driving on African roads which makes a real difference to how we can keep our average speeds up safely with the many challenges that these roads throw at us. We reached the Sudanese border slightly ahead of schedule, only to be told that it was closed, and had been for the last 2 weeks. We could not get any explanation why. This really looked like it could spell disaster for our World Record attempt right there and then. But these things are never just left to chance, and thankfully our Sudanese 'fixer' Midhat was waiting at the border to meet us. After some involved discussion with the officials, he somehow got our crossing approved, and we were waved through the checkpoint into Sudan, the only vehicle to get through for 2 weeks. Disaster averted, Midhat will now be one of a team of 4 locals to escort us through the whole length of Sudan through tonight in high-speed convoy with our Touareg in a Volkswagen Amarok kindly supplied for this job by Volkswagen Sudan. We will update you tomorrow morning with our trip through Sudan to the capital Khartoum then North out into the empty Sudanese desert headed for the Egyptian border. As a quick further update, we let you know a couple of days ago that our route-logging tracker on the website had failed to capture the first part of our journey through South Africa. Well, it has now been updated by manually inputting the correct GPS data collected from our other Inmarsat tracker so that it now accurately logs the whole route so far. Sam

    15. September 2015

    After we crossed the border into Ethiopia yesterday afternoon the country straight away felt very different to all of the areas that have come before it on our adventure. Almost as soon as we entered the country the smooth and empty road started climbing into the mountains, eventually taking us up to 2500m. The higher we climbed, the more green and fertile the land became with fields of banana trees, sugar cane and coffee beans everywhere. As nightfall came, we turned onto the worst road that we've driven this trip. The potholes started first, and then the whole road surface disappeared into incredibly rough dirt tracks. Struggling to get above 20kph for fear of damaging the Touareg, navigating this road at night required endless patience and intense concentration to pick our way over the bumps, avoid the worst of the ruts, and stay out of the way of the oncoming trucks and buses, especially at the points when only one lane was usable. Sections of the road had turned to thick red mud after rain; the dry parts were thick with dust hanging in the air. It took us a full 7 hours to reach the end of this road at 01:00 this morning – 7 hours of the hardest driving I've ever done, despite being so slow. Rainer says that now I have completed this road without incident, I'm officially in the African driving club! That experience last night had made me unsure if I was going to enjoy Ethiopia. But any doubts I may have had were washed away the exact moment I opened my eyes this morning after grabbing a few hours sleep in the back of the Touareg. We had stopped at the top of a gorge; deep down below us lay the Blue Nile, surrounded by fertile green fields and small villages of thatched huts. The sunrise was just appearing over the valley, with clouds and mist hanging deep below us on the valley floor. An incredible view, and an incredible first sight to open my eyes to. I think I had some preconceived ideas that Ethiopia would be a dry and arid place, probably based around the awful images from the '80s of drought and famine in this country. Quite the opposite. In the areas that we've travelled through, mainly the Ethiopian Highlands, the altitude keeps the area comparatively cool and wet so everywhere is lush greenery across the hills and valleys. It's hard to describe how beautiful some of the landscapes we've seen this morning have been – perhaps the closest description for us Europeans would be like the Alps in summer, but with bright red earth, villages of small thatched huts and more exotic plants and trees. One of the striking things here is the people: the sheer number of them wherever we drive. Ethiopia has a population of 90m, the second highest in Africa. The towns and villages are packed with people everywhere, but even out deep into the countryside there is a never ending flow of people walking along the roadside, often with animals or one of the many donkeys and carts. Whilst there are almost no private cars here, there are countless minibus taxis, and endless 'tuc-tuc' 3 wheel taxis all of which make the driving challenging. Of course there are still the number of donkeys, cows and goats just wandering around on the road to add to the driver's list of things to look out for. What is clear is just how friendly the Ethiopians are – even though very little English is spoken here so communication is near-enough impossible, we always get a group of smiling curious onlookers arriving within minutes wherever we stop. As Ethiopia is the origin of the coffee bean and is still Africa's biggest producer of them, we had a final short stop in a roadside café in the mountains next to the Nile brewing strong bitter coffee for us. We're right on schedule for the World Record objective at the moment, and as we near the end of Ethiopia, in some ways we've almost completed the most challenging and risky parts of the journey. All three of us are feeling good, and spirits are high. The long straight desert roads of Sudan and Egypt will, in comparison to the last few days' driving, be relatively undemanding for us and the Touareg, so we will hopefully get a chance to catch up on some rest as we take turns to drive. With a little more time on our hands over the coming few days now, we're hoping to use these blogs to introduce you to the team a little more, along with some behind the scenes info on some of the rather clever systems that our sponsors have provided for us here in the Touareg and how they're being used. Our next update will come this evening from Sudan. Sam

    iAfter we crossed the border into Ethiopia yesterday afternoon the country straight away felt very different to all of the areas that have come before it on our adventure. Almost as soon as we entered the country the smooth and empty road started climbing into the mountains, eventually taking us up to 2500m. The higher we climbed, the more green and fertile the land became with fields of banana trees, sugar cane and coffee beans everywhere. As nightfall came, we turned onto the worst road that we've driven this trip. The potholes started first, and then the whole road surface disappeared into incredibly rough dirt tracks. Struggling to get above 20kph for fear of damaging the Touareg, navigating this road at night required endless patience and intense concentration to pick our way over the bumps, avoid the worst of the ruts, and stay out of the way of the oncoming trucks and buses, especially at the points when only one lane was usable. Sections of the road had turned to thick red mud after rain; the dry parts were thick with dust hanging in the air. It took us a full 7 hours to reach the end of this road at 01:00 this morning - 7 hours of the hardest driving I've ever done, despite being so slow. Rainer says that now I have completed this road without incident, I'm officially in the African driving club! That experience last night had made me unsure if I was going to enjoy Ethiopia. But any doubts I may have had were washed away the exact moment I opened my eyes this morning after grabbing a few hours sleep in the back of the Touareg. We had stopped at the top of a gorge; deep down below us lay the Blue Nile, surrounded by fertile green fields and small villages of thatched huts. The sunrise was just appearing over the valley, with clouds and mist hanging deep below us on the valley floor. An incredible view, and an incredible first sight to open my eyes to. I think I had some preconceived ideas that Ethiopia would be a dry and arid place, probably based around the awful images from the '80s of drought and famine in this country. Quite the opposite. In the areas that we've travelled through, mainly the Ethiopian Highlands, the altitude keeps the area comparatively cool and wet so everywhere is lush greenery across the hills and valleys. It's hard to describe how beautiful some of the landscapes we've seen this morning have been - perhaps the closest description for us Europeans would be like the Alps in summer, but with bright red earth, villages of small thatched huts and more exotic plants and trees. One of the striking things here is the people: the sheer number of them wherever we drive. Ethiopia has a population of 90m, the second highest in Africa. The towns and villages are packed with people everywhere, but even out deep into the countryside there is a never ending flow of people walking along the roadside, often with animals or one of the many donkeys and carts. Whilst there are almost no private cars here, there are countless minibus taxis, and endless 'tuc-tuc' 3 wheel taxis all of which make the driving challenging. Of course there are still the number of donkeys, cows and goats just wandering around on the road to add to the driver's list of things to look out for. What is clear is just how friendly the Ethiopians are - even though very little English is spoken here so communication is near-enough impossible, we always get a group of smiling curious onlookers arriving within minutes wherever we stop. As Ethiopia is the origin of the coffee bean and is still Africa's biggest producer of them, we had a final short stop in a roadside café in the mountains next to the Nile brewing strong bitter coffee for us. We're right on schedule for the World Record objective at the moment, and as we near the end of Ethiopia, in some ways we've almost completed the most challenging and risky parts of the journey. All three of us are feeling good, and spirits are high. The long straight desert roads of Sudan and Egypt will, in comparison to the last few days' driving, be relatively undemanding for us and the Touareg, so we will hopefully get a chance to catch up on some rest as we take turns to drive. With a little more time on our hands over the coming few days now, we're hoping to use these blogs to introduce you to the team a little more, along with some behind the scenes info on some of the rather clever systems that our sponsors have provided for us here in the Touareg and how they're being used. Our next update will come this evening from Sudan. Sam