There is immeasurable beauty about having like minded friends who love and appreciate all the things you appreciate. Knowing that I am an adrenalin junkie, my Friend and Travel Buddy, Sli told me that we got invited to be Avec Toi’s guests at the Toyota 1000 desert race’s official marquee. Because I am always ready to hit the road, I gave it a big nod.
The Toyota 1000 Desert Race is one of the biggest events in Botswana which has been bringing hundred of people from neighboring countries and beyond into the country. This race has been attracting teams from countries like Dubai and Brazil that have been participating for years. It has also produced teams that have performed in the world class stages like the famous Dakar Rally. The people of Botswana always look forward to this annual event. During this time the town comes alive and the traffic almost brings the town to a stand still. The economy also gets a magnificent boost.
On Friday afternoon, we set out for our 435km road trip to Botswana. Because it was my very first time there, we decided that we should sleep over in the Capital (Gaborone) so that I could have a feel of the town. So we slept over at a friend’s house with a plan to wake up at the crack of dawn to make our way to the race. The race was held in Jwaneng, home to the world’s biggest diamond mine and we arrived right in time for the start (what I actually mean is that we managed to catch the last few cars as they pulled out). After seeing them off, we had breakfast and then headed out to the viewing point in the Kalahari.
We went out on a safari truck which added another flavour to the whole experience (except that we did not spot any animals on the way). Our picnic spot was at one of the refueling stations which meant we had an opportunity to see the drivers up close as they refueled their cars. We had a great time there cheering the drivers on as they showed us tricks with their cars.
As the sun was about to set we moved back to town, where we had an opportunity see the cars being prepared for the next morning. We also got to meet some of the drivers. The one we got to sit and have a chat with was Victor Ntsekhe who has won 13 off road races. Having grown up in Botswana he had been attending the race for years until he decided to try his hand on it. I must say it really paid off as his experience saw him win the South Africa class P Championship in 2017. This year at the Toyota 1000 desert race he got 2nd place. Victor is a definition of an adrenalin junkie as he is also a competitive biker and has won 19 go cart races. To know more about this energetic adrenaline junkie follow his story at the bottom of this page.
We decided to Glamp it out for this race. The tents had all the necessities like lights, charging points, toiletries, toilet and shower. Though it was freezing at night but the blankets were warm enough, such that the cold did not get to us. However, we had our small stint in the cold as we got stuck in the sand not once but twice. Shout out to the Toyota camp for rescuing us both times, they are such gentlemen.
The following morning, after breakfast we decided to go with the cars to the more fun part of the event, the point to point chase. This meant we went to one point, identified all the cars we wanted to follow and we moved from one point to the next. This way you get to see how well the cars you are rooting for are doing, through out the day. This is also where you get to meet the locals as they station in all the spectator viewing points to cheer the cars on while having enjoying themselves.
We got to see others bum out of the competition because of mechanical failures and some losing their spots as they had to attend to their cars. This is one part of the experience I was very uncomfortable with because we could see the frustrations in the racers eyes as they had to stop and fix the cars, when all they wanted to do was maintain or improve on their position.
At the last check out point we rushed back to the finish line were we witnessed the final stage of the race, as the cars came in. We got to witness the great moments as the winners were celebrated by their teams and spectators as they came in to end their victory lap.
It has been a great experience, all thanks to the Avec Toi team (Lady Noble & Reitumetse Aphiri) that treated us to a true 5 star treatment as promised. They indeed lived up to their promise and exceeded expectations with their world class marque and a nicely curated experience that they had designed for their patrons.
We will be going back again in 2019 for another adrenaline dosage, will you be joining us?
You can read more about our chat with Victor Ntsekhe here.