Jimny Goes Mountaineering
Two intrepid adventurers are on their way through Africa to climb the five highest peaks on the continent. How will they reach these mountains? They’ll be travelling overland in their Suzuki Jimny.
At the end of April, Team Tane left South Africa on a serious Overland challenge. The team, consisting of Shane Quinnell and his wife Tarryn (Tane is a combination TArryn and ShaNE) are travelling overland to the five highest peaks in Africa, and then climb those five peaks. The journey will take around eight months, cover a distance of 25 000km, and include 10 countries. So what has motivated this adventurous journey? “I often contemplated the incredible landscapes I have been privileged to experience in my adult years spent intermittently travelling and adventuring,” says Shane.
“I have frequently wondered how to protect these places and the amazing plants, animals and people who call them home, so that more people – including future generations – can revel in these beautiful natural surroundings. “These thoughts led to our version of an answer: Team Tane,” says Shane. “We aim to encourage others to get out and explore the wide and wonderful world around us. Our idea is simple: by sharing accounts of our adventures, experiences in nature and in the cultures of others, our stories and pictures have the power to inspire people to seek their own adventures, however large or small.”
Having grown up in three countries (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia), and lived in and travelled many others, Shane is a self-professed country mongrel with a unique accent that often changes mid-sentence. Interested and excited about nearly everything, he has found his way into numerous communities and activities. Since university, where he encountered climbing, he has become an adventure nut, and has been involved in everything from climbing and diving to paragliding and much more. Two years ago, Shane was involved in a serious paragliding accident that left him wheelchair-bound. “I obliterated my ankles, suffered an exploded vertebrae and received lots of internal metal, but I’ve recovered and am still able to climb. So, this journey will be something of a comeback tour,” says Shane.
Shane describes his wife Tarryn as “one of the most efficient people you will ever meet”. She is an excellent athlete who has represented South Africa in international polo cross, and also competed in gymnastics at a high level. Like Shane, she is an avid climber. “While most of our trips are short weekend or week-long missions, Tarryn and I have been dying to sink our teeth into something more substantial; a true expedition. Foremost in our minds has been to truly experience our home continent of Africa. We have been dreaming of this ever since I first suggested the idea of travelling from Cape to Cairo on motorbikes more than seven years ago. Due to war and political instability, travelling that route is harder than it has been in a long time, if not utterly impossible. Since we both love climbing, this adventure, which we’re calling Africa Sky High, seemed like a good alternative,” says Shane.
“We’ll be climbing quite a few mountains as opportunities arise, but the main five we will be aiming for are the five highest in Africa,” says Shane. The first, quite obviously, is Mount Kilimanjaro. At 5 895m, it is the highest mountain in Africa and one that many adventurers want to tick off their bucket list. But while it is certainly the tallest, it isn’t the toughest climb in Africa. Climbing Kili is really just a long hike at high altitude. Team Tane’s second mountain, Mount Kenya, will be a far tougher climb. “Climbing Kenya isn’t easy. It’s really technical. You can’t just hike up, it requires true rock climbing and mountaineering,” says Shane. The other thee mountains on the list, Stanley, Speke and Baker are all situated in the Rwenzori Mountains, on the border between Uganda and the DRC. These will all be tough. They are high, surprisingly icy if you consider that they are situated on the equator, and far off the tourist route. Getting to them won’t be easy, either, which is why Team Tane are driving a proper 4×4.
Shane and Tarryn are driving their personal Suzuki Jimny, affectionately called Badger. “When we bought our Jimny, I, like many other prospective buyers, incorrectly assumed that its diminutive size meant that the vehicle was not as capable as other 4×4s. I could not have been more wrong,” says Shane. “The realisation dawned on me that the Jimny is effectively a full-size 4×4 that has been compressed into half the size!” At the time of writing, Badger was being given a bit of overhaul by Jimny specialist Wizerd and Opposite Lock, both tasked with making the little Suzuki a bit more overland-ready. Suzuki SA also recently signed up as headline sponsor of Africa Sky High. Shane, Tarry and Badger left Johannesburg on 29 April and have made it as far as Uganda.
Look out for more from Team Tane in our July issue of Leisure Wheels magazine, which will be in store from Monday 19 June 2017.