The first time we had to engage the 4WD – we were off road for 11 hours barely going above 30mph (mostly 10mph).
Driving into the High Atlas mountains we began climbing along some very steep and sheer tracks – the views were amazing although the drivers never took their eyes off the road. We climbed to 5,500ft and the co-drivers were massively appreciated to help avoid the potholes.
We suffered two punctures today but luckily we were carrying 8 spares for the four vehicles – the paras were quick to help out and we were back on the road in 15 minutes on each occasion.
After leaving the mountains we headed towards the desert. Driving became even harder (is that possible?) and the sand dunes meant that at times we had to get out and push. We’ve ended this final travel day camping wild in the desert where the facilities consist of a shovel (if you know what I mean!).
Tomorrow the paras will be setting our first challenge and there’s talk in the camp that tomorrow night we will be sleeping without tents, light or additional rations. Keep following the blog and sharing our story…
Last night we all thought we were going to be blown away by a sandstorm after having set up a wild camp at least three hours drive from the nearest road head. The long journey was beginning to take its toll on some who looked bleary-eyed as they emerged from their tents.
We were then given some training on the small dunes nearby before being given our first challenge by Captain Matt Camp. We were split into two teams with each lead vehicle having been given some GPS co-ordinates which would test our navigational skills across this section of the expedition.
Within minutes we were all having to hop out of the vehicles to shift rocks which were likely to add more punctures to our collection. The dunes were getting bigger as we headed into the Waadi and getting over the top of some of the larger ones proved a major challenge with both teams finding themselves digging out the wheels, but after three hours both teams arrived at the ruins of an old city where we had a quick break before driving three hours across open desert heading towards Mezugha where the next challenge would be happening.
The Paras and Nissan team members were really becoming confident drivers and another driver training session on the huge dunes around Mezugha showed just how much people had learned on the trip down in handling their vehicles.
Tonight the Paras have told us that we have to camp with no tents, no food, no lights and to post guards around our site as something had been planned for that night. As the sun falls we are all trained in desert navigation and are feeling a growing sense of unease.