11-03-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
A couple of dynamic, serene, fabulous Italians "Over 60".
A Fiat 124 Spider BS1 convertible from 1971 prepared for the occasion, racing on muddy red clay tracks in the middle of the green savannah of Africa.
Herds of elephants, wildebeests and zebras grazing around, rhinoceroses observing a red animal on four wheels a little bigger than them with two enthusiastic mammals on board.
The scenario could be that of a film from many years ago, which we would call "Southern Cross Safari", but all this happened a few weeks ago in Kenya and Tanzania and two of the protagonists were Federica Mascetti and Enrico Paggi from Varese.
Wife and Husband in life, retired with a passion for travel and adventure, they rediscovered themselves as a "vintage" driver and navigator last year, participating in the Peking to Paris, a fascinating but exhausting rally marathon. Last February they decided to join the group of enthusiasts from all over the world who brought their vintage cars to the port of Mombasa and found themselves in Watamu to face the most important and suggestive parks and reserves.
"Nothing to do with steppe and taiga, here it was a whole other thing - admit the two participants of the rally lasted 20 days, included in the initiatives of the association "Rally The Globe" - we had never been in East Africa and we were enchanted. The wonder and variety of landscapes, the sense of freedom in the parks and reserves, the hospitality and spontaneous joy of the people and, last but not least, the perfect organization, won us over. Surely we will come back, on holiday, even without our mythical spider, to see other places".
Red and covered in brick-coloured dust, marked but not too much by the adventurous hills of the Taita Hills, the ascents to the foot of Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro volcano, the dips in the puddles of the Masai Mara and the outings on Lord Delamere's estate, the Fiat 124 spider showed itself alongside other models that have taken the savannah back at least half a century. Among the 23 crews, there was also a 1909 Vauxhall ("it had a few problems - admits Enrico - but it was the only car, the others all came to an end") and a 1920 Bentley. Then many Porsches, for those who took the competition seriously, and some spiders and coupés that seemed born to be in the middle of the "wild", between Triumph, Jaguar and a Lancia Fulvia of a Swiss crew.
"Despite some hard tests of regularity and time trial - Federica explains - this rally in Kenya and Tanzania soon became a holiday, with unrepeatable moments in which the emotion completely took the senses, between the immense light of the sky and a Nature that we didn't expect so green and luxuriant. We literally felt ourselves in heaven on earth. I have so many memorable images still in my eyes, such as entering an orphanage with 19 children jumping in our car, or seeing a family of elephants with puppies parading in front of us, with the car unloaded, while zebras, giraffes and wildebeests were quietly enjoying the scene next door. It's no jeep safari!"
In the images of "Rally The Globe" you can also see more "dangerous" scenes: couples left on foot to change wheels with animals a short distance away, vintage spiders re-emerge from mud tracks model quicksand ... in short, Africa.
"Now that this adventure is over, we can say that we would have liked it to last a little longer - admits the couple - that's why we decided to extend the holiday by a few days and enjoy the beautiful Watamu, a bit of Indian Ocean and sunshine".
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