Like many epic adventures, this project started with a dare joke sent through a text message: “Riding our motorcycle from Ebly to Nattitingou (Benin), 3,000 kilometers, you have 30 minutes to make a decision…”.
Despite the many good reasons to travel to Benin, it quickly became obvious that it was impossible to realize such a project: the geopolitical unrest would have forced us to ride around unstable countries and to significantly lengthen our road trip and we were facing challenges in finding a way to bring back the motorbikes from Cotonou to Belgium. The lack of time to do the necessary preparations for a trip of this magnitude and limited days off at work were additional challenges.
The starting point
Without being aware of it at the time, this text message was the starting point of our adventure. It led to many lively conversations and in-depth thinking. With Bruno turning 50 soon, he is feeling the urge of “making history”. And François (57) dreams of a long-distance road trip with his motorcycle as soon as he hits the retirement age. And then we asked ourselves: what about doing this motorcycle journey through the African continent right now ?
With the map of Africa hanging on the wall to plan out our route, we quickly came to the conclusion that the possibilities were limited. Crossing the African continent through its Western side via the Strait of Gibraltar brings some true challenges and significantly increases the total distance.
Facing with the impossibility to cross Africa through its Western part, we have decided to travel through its Eastern side and go through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. A total of 9 countries, about 12,000 kilometers and 100 days.
This project has been growing in our mind and kept us busy at night. Crossing the African continent, accumulating kilometers on our motorcycle and discovering some spectacular terrain was not entirely fulfilling for neither of us. Engaging with the local community was a necessity. With our 15-year volunteering experience with a local organization here in Belgium “Télévie”, we quickly felt the need to add a humanitarian component to our African motorcycle roadtrip. We were convinced and determined to engage with the community but uncertain which project we were going to support.
The humanitarian aspect
The answer was quickly found. In 1984, Atlas Copco – the company for which François works – created a humanitarian foundation “Water for All” whose primary belief is that access to clean water is a human right. The donations go to funding installations that give people access to clean drinking water. For every euro raised by an employee, Atlas Copco double-matches the money raised and contributes two additional euros. The total amount is thus triple (*).
To raise money to support Water for All, we are organizing a performance-based fundraising campaign. We are asking donors for a donation pledge for every kilometer on our
motorcycle. A meter will be available on our website with the amount of money collected increasing as we are riding further South towards Cape Town and discovering spectacular scenery. The aim of this motorcycle journey is both a personal adventure and a humanitarian engagement. At the end of our 100-day trip, 100% of the donations will go to Water for All to fund new projects that empower people to gain access to clean water.
During our road trip, we will have the opportunity to visit some of the projects that Water for All funded. Our wish is also to engage with the local community to better understand the problems they encounter on a daily basis in terms of access to clean water.
CO2 in all this
Keeping in mind the issue of global warming, we are currently looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
Follow the adventure
Crossing Africa from its Northern tip to its Southern tip with Cairo in Egypt as our starting point and 100 days later finishing the journey in Cape Town in South Africa. What kind of interactions and experiences will we create? What kind of emotions and feelings will this journey trigger? Check our blog to learn more about our road trip and be part of the adventure as we share pictures and videos.
We are lucky to be supported in this project by our families and friends. We want to thank Stéphane Modard who generously offered to create and update the website. A thank you to Marie-Catherine Wavreille and Isaline Alvarez who will share the translation effort to guarantee that our website is available to English speakers.
To conclude, we are extremely proud of our logo. A 30-minute conversation with a local and talented artist, Aurore Dahin, was enough for us to share our journey with her and for her to understand our expectations and create a logo as well as a name for our trip.
It is such a privilege to be surrounded by dedicated friends!
(*) Example of a donation: a donation of .001€/km corresponds to a total donation of 12€ if we reach Cape Town. This amount will then be doubled by Atlas Copco which will contribute an additional 24€ for a total of 36€ that will be donated to Water for All.