JOHANNESBURG – Africa’s most loved explorer, Kingsley Holgate, has departed on another unique Land Rover expedition to investigate and document the cultures and traditions of disappearing African tribes.
In a spectacular send-off at Lesedi Cultural Village on Wednesday, Kingsley and his crew departed for Southern Ethiopia in a brand-new, expedition-ready Land Rover Discovery.
This 7 000 km journey, called ‘The Living Traditions Expedition,’ will take the crew through Central and West Africa, along the shores of Lake Turkana in the Kenyan Rift Valley, the world’s largest desert lake, and the Omo River in South Western Ethiopia. The expedition will then culminate at Lake Chew Bahir (formerly Lake Stefanie), still a very remote and unexplored region of Africa.
Chew Bahir, meaning ‘Great Salt Ocean’, is, according to Kingsley, “a kaleidoscope of vanishing cultures.” “It’s a wild area. There are some security issues and it’s notorious for cattle wars. But it’s a fascinating place associated with Mursi women with big lip plates, the ancient people of the Hamar Mountains and many other incredible cultures,” the Greybeard of Africa said.Kin
Kingsley and his crew are tasked with investigating, observing and documenting these disappearing cultures. The journey, called ’Living Traditions’ is a geographical adventure and cultural expedition.
Along the way, the convoy will spread a message of goodwill and deliver humanitarian aid. The latter will be in the form of Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s ‘Mashozi’s Rite to Sight’ initiative – where the crew will distribute hundreds of reading glasses.
The expedition will also see the launch of ‘Elephant Art Project’ (similar to the Rhino Art Project). With Rhino Art, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation has reached out to more than 250 000 school children across Africa.
“It’s teaching kids about conservation and giving them a passion for African wildlife. In the words of the late, great Ian Player, “if we do not pass over the baton of conservation to the youth, we’re doomed,” said Kingsley.
Kingsley continued, “Thanks to Land Rover, we’re able to go on the most amazing cultural expedition, to see people and lifestyles totally unaffected by the western world. You will feel nothing but sheer privilege at being able to travel amongst them.”
The expedition will also include a physical challenge. Kingsley and the crew will attempt a world-first circumnavigation of Lake Chew Bahir in land yachts (three-wheeled contraptions with sails). “We’ll be charging into the wind and racing back to bring all the evidence, documentation and wonderful photographs of this incredible region,” said the Greybeard of Africa.
Kingsley’s team is made up of his son, Ross Holgate who handles all the logistics of the trip. He’s also fluent in Swahili and knows Africa like the back of his hand. French club rugby-player Deon Schurmann (for translation and protection!) and Mike Nixon, Cape Epic ‘Last Lion’ and renowned mountain climber, will also join the crew.
“Can you imagine what a great journey this is going to be? It’s got it all! Adventure, geography, history and it involves us investigating the crisis of disappearing African cultures. Hope we’ll survive and we’ll make sure to send loads of images and bush notes.”
Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa’s managing director, Richard Gouverneur and marketing & communications director, Lisa Mallett also attended the launch at Lesedi Cultural Village to see Kingsley and crew off. Kingsley Holgate’s Living Traditions expedition forms part of Land Rover’s Hope Crosses Any Terrain CSR initiative (#HCAT)