Special to Africa Travel Magazine

Tour d'Afrique Race News


For the first time since its inception the Tour d'Afrique organizers are producing television news inserts and a documentary of the 10-country, 12 000km annual bike adventure from Cairo to Cape Town and Toyota has volunteered the services of 'Baobab', the lead Toyota Fortuner from the recent pioneering 'Timbuktu to Table Mountain Expedition' to make this possible.

Timbuktu expedition leader Geoff Dalglish and PR consultant John Elford raced 'Baobab' more than 5 000km from Johannesburg to northern Kenya last week to meet the elated but travel-weary convoy of cyclists as they pushed south along some of Africa's most punishing dirt roads.

'Baobab' will be used by an international TV crew filming the world's longest pedal-powered epic as well as serving various logistical roles for the Tour d'Afrique management team.

"We are delighted to have the support of Toyota" said Henry Gold, President of Tour d'Afrique Ltd currently on a scouting mission in Asia for the company's next epic bike adventure, the Silk Route. "Baobab will make all the difference in terms of the coverage we'll be able to achieve across the second half of the Tour, and we look forward to sharing the adventure with television audiences worldwide."

The latest adventure in the action-packed life of the turbo-diesel Toyota Fortuner makes it one of the most travelled examples of the rugged 4x4 breed in existence, and possibly the only one to have driven through no fewer than 17 African countries on both the west and east sides of the continent.

In the space of a year since the South African-built Fortuner rolled off the production line in Durban and was launched to the local media, Baobab has become something of a celebrity, starring in the SABC TV travel series Go South, as well as appearing in numerous magazine, newspaper and website features.

"It has been a remarkable vehicle and worthy of its Baobab nickname," Geoff Dalglish says. "After being used as one of the original media launch vehicles, Baobab led the 12-country, 62-day Toyota Timbuktu-Table Mountain Expedition, celebrating its homecoming in grand style on Cape Town's Table Mountain at the end of a remarkable trans-African odyssey that threw up every imaginable challenge."

The latest trip from South Africa through Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya again saw the Toyota play an ambassadorial role, this time in its new Tour d'Afrique livery, attracting admiring attention wherever it goes.

"While we were in a hurry to meet up with the cyclists in Kenya, our East African safari threw up a number of highlights, among them getting up close and personal with lions and elephant in an unfenced campsite in Tanzania's Mikumi National Park, and seeing snow-capped Kilimanjaro rise out of the early-morning mists in Kenya's Amboseli National Park. "It is a sight I'll never forget," Dalglish enthused.

Tour d'Afrique 2007 is the fifth annual running of an extreme adventure event that will be televised worldwide, attracting serious competitors and leisure riders from all walks of life, among them a blind Kenyan motivational speaker, Douglas Sidialo, who rides a tandem cycle.

The Tour arrived in Arusha on Wednesday, where they spent three days resting and sight seeing.

The Tour is due to reach Cape Town on May 12.

For the latest updates visit www.tourdafrique.com/tourdafrique and click on 'blogs'

For photographs and more info, contact:

Theresa Brown

Tour d'Afrique &endash; South Africa

Tel: +27 21 421 9342

Cell: +27 84 353 197

Toyota &endash; South Africa5

email: theresa@networld.co.za

Mike Coo

Tour d'Afrique &endash; Canada

Tel: +1 416 364 8255

email: mike@tourdafrique.com

Geoff Dalglish

Cell: +27 82 990 1032


Tour d'Afrique, the annual 12 000-kilometer bicycle race/expedition from Cairo to Cape Town, billed as the world's longest and most grueling bicycle race, has completed its eighth week of the 17 week odyssey.

After facing down scorching temperatures and unrelenting corrugated lava rock roads through northern Kenya last week, one of the cyclists remarked "The Tour de France is luxury compared to this!"

After crossing the Equator the scenery changed dramatically once again as the cyclists experienced cooler weather, huge elevation climbs on paved roads and lush green vegetation.

"What made the climbing easier were the amazing views; Mount Kenya, rolling hills covered with sunflowers and corn crops, thatched cottages and super friendly Kenyans who smiled and waved and told us 'not much further!'" reported Tour Leader, Shanny Hill.

The Tour arrived in Nairobi on Sunday, bringing to a close the section known as 'Meltdown Madness' where they were welcomed by the Kenyan media at a press conference in Nairobi.

Tour d'Afrique Foundation, the fund raising arm of the Tour, donated bicycles to Maji Mazuri and the National Council of Women in Kenya, two NGO's dedicated to easing the suffering of HIV/Aids victims in Nairobi.

"It was more than your average press conference" reported Shanny Hill "It was full of heart and emotion when the kids from Maji Mazuri arrived, on their way to receive their treatment, and recited a poem of celebration they had created especially for the occasion."

The cyclists will enjoy a rest day in Nairobi today and prepare for the fourth stage of the Tour &endash; "Snows of Kilimanjaro".

This 12 day, 1012 km section from Nairobi, Kenya to Iringa, Tanzania, will take the cyclists past views of Mount Kilimanjaro and its smaller sibling, Mount Meru and into the city of Arusha, the gateway to the Serengeti National Park, where the cyclists have three rest days in which visit the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Taragire and Ruaha.

Leaving Arusha, the Tour will cycle towards Dodoma along roads where the Masai will be their constant companions. The cyclists will experience some of the most unique, verdant, memorable and least traveled parts of Tanzania on this leg before they finish the section in Iringa.

Dutch racers, Adrie Frijters and Eva Nijssen still hold the overall lead in the men's and women's race.

For regular updates and more information visit www.tourdafrique.com



Tour d'Afrique, the annual 12 000-kilometer bicycle race/expedition from Cairo to Cape Town, billed as the most grueling bicycle race on earth, has completed its seventh week of the 16 week odyssey, crossing the border into Kenya last week. The riding conditions have changed from the paved roads and rolling hills of Ethiopia to the dry, corrugated dirt roads of Northern Kenya as the cyclists take up the challenge of riding the 18 day, 1630-kilometre section from Addis Ababa to Nairobi known as 'Meltdown Madness'.

"The temperature has increased markedly since our border crossing at Moyale." reported Tour Leader, Shanny Hill.   "The off road tyres are back on and the dust has returned." Over the next week, the cyclists will travel through the volcanic rock desert of Dida Galgalu, cycle around majestic Mount Kenya, cross the Equator and undergo some of the most drastic elevations changes as they cycle towards the halfway point of the Tour &endash; Nairobi.

On Monday, the riders will enjoy a rest day in the little town of Marsabit situated on an isolated million-year-old extinct volcano  which rises almost a kilometer above the sea of desert.  Home to many Ethiopian and Somali immigrants, it is renowned for its "singing" wells where local people make "human ladders" to fetch water for their cattle from deep within the earth.

Celebrated blind cyclist from Nairobi, Douglas Sidialo and his pilot, Joash Aswani are still riding strong in 5th position overall and look forward to receiving a warm welcome from their fellow countrymen and women when they ride into their hometown on Sunday 11th March.

Dutch racer, Adrie Frijters still holds the overall lead in the men's race, with Eric Sechler of Sweden, 2 hours and 49 seconds behind him.  Due to a wrist injury, Janet Alexander from New Zealand who won the first section, dropped into second position on 'The Gorge' section, with Eva Nijssen of Holland taking the lead in the women's race by close on 48 hours.


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