London to Cape Town – January 8th, 1963
As you can see by the passport stamp above, by January 8th, 1963, our intrepid duo were now in Africa. This was when their real adventures began. The situation the previous day in Europe had meant that they’d been forced to change their route and had caused a delay in their planned schedule (there were to be many more) so they wanted to make great progress if they could.
They were gradually becoming used to the heat. Ken Chambers had never set foot in Africa before and both he and Eric Jackson enjoyed the heat as they had left England in the grip of the Big Freeze – one of the coldest winters on record in Britain. And soon, as they traveled down through Africa, the temperatures rose and rose. As it says in Petrol in My Blood:
“Slowly we were becoming acclimatized But oh boy, was it hot.”
It’s easy to forget that the car has no air conditioning at all. Imagine driving for days through Africa with no AC! It was on this day though, that Ken and Eric experienced their first accident.
“The Nile was on one side and I wasn’t going to go that way – I didn’t fancy the crocodiles. There were very thick palm trees on the other and it would have been suicidal to turn that way. I just had time to shout ‘Accident!’ at Ken so that he could brace himself for the impact…”