Holgate to take first new Defenders across Africa and way beyond

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Promising to be their most challenging geographic and humanitarian journeys to date, the 30,000 km expedition departs on 27 October from Cape Agulhas from where it will head to Norway’s Nordkapp before finishing on the sands of Red Wharf Bay

Renowned explorer Kingsley Holgate will be putting the new Defender’s technical capabilities through its paces, as he embarks on a year-long transcontinental expedition. The 30,000 km journey will pass through 30 countries, from the southern tip of the African continent to the most northern point of Europe, and then on to the mystical Isle of Anglesey in Wales. Of course, no expedition with Kingsley’s name to it is complete without humanitarian work en route and objectives include eye tests and reading glasses for the elderly in remote areas, the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to mothers and children, the delivery of two million meals to crèches, educational conservation work near elephant and rhino populations, and the supply of water to communities with shortages.

The core Holgate team will be using two expedition-kitted P400 Defenders, with other team members joining along the way in their own Defenders. You may have previously read about the two already well-travelled Land Rovers having completed the Holgates’ 80 day, 16,000 km Mzansi Edge expedition to track South Africa’s land borders and deliver humanitarian aid in the height of lockdown in 2020. With the 3.0-litre P400 mild hybrid kicking out emissions of over 260g/km, the expedition’s carbon footprint is to be offset through the support of environmental initiatives in sub-Sahara Africa, including spekboom and tree planting. It will be the first real-life expedition test for Land Rover’s new Defenders outside of South African borders, across two continents and over some of the most extreme terrain on Earth, and has been almost two years in the making.

“In April last year, after months of preparation, we were about to set off on a humanitarian ‘journey of purpose’ from the UK to South Africa to showcase Land Rover’s new Defender ahead of its global launch. But then, along came Covid-19 and put all those plans on hold,” said Kingsley. “So, optimistically, we decided to turn things around and add even more adventure to the route. This expedition will be the first ‘Hot Cape to Cold Cape’ journey in recent years from South Africa’s Cape Agulhas to Norway’s Nordkapp in the Arctic Circle, which is the most northern Promising to be their most challenging geographic and humanitarian journeys to date, the 30,000 km expedition departed on 27 October from Cape Agulhas from where it will head to Norway’s Nordkapp before finishing on the sands of Red Wharf Baypoint of Europe that can be reached by vehicle. It will certainly be a world-first for the new Land Rover Defenders”.As well as assisting 300,000 people in sub-Sahara Africa, the team, led by Kingsley’s son Holegate, will be seeking out demanding driving conditions and tough 4x4 terrain to reach iconic geographic points of interest. He takes up the story: “There are going to be some extreme challenges. The route through central and east Africa will be at the height of the ‘big rains’, so we’re expecting very wet and muddy conditions for days on end. Crossing the dry and hot Sahel and Nubian Desert through Sudan and into Egypt will also be very testing for both man and machine. In addition there are geo-political issues to face, especially in Ethiopia and the Sudan.

The expedition will also be carrying a new Scroll of Peace and Goodwill which will collect hundreds of messages of support from citizens of 30 countries for a new and more hope-filled post-Covid world. Follow the expedition on the Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s Facebook page and on Land Rover South Africa’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.