Alison Grunewald takes on Africa-crossing expedition in her pink Landy

11 August 2022 - 07:47
By Denis Droppa
Alison Grunewald with her distinctive pink Land Rover Defender 110.
Alison Grunewald with her distinctive pink Land Rover Defender 110. Picture: SUPPLIED

Alison Grunewald is the sole female driver undertaking the Chartwell 2 Chartwell (C2C) Land Rover expedition.

In her distinctive pink AutObarn Land Rover, Grunewald is part of the seven-member team driving classic Land Rovers from Chartwell in Gauteng to Chartwell in the UK. The three-month trip departed in July and will cover more than 22,000km through 20 countries.

The trip is the brainchild of lifelong Land Rover adventurers Robert Eriksen and Mark McClue. Finding an abandoned 1982 Series 3 Land Rover in the Cradle of Humankind, restoring it in Chartwell SA and renaming it “Winston”, gave birth to Eriksen’s idea to drive across Africa to Chartwell House, the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill in the UK.

The C2C mission across Africa aims to raise R5m via donations towards developing opportunities for youth within sustainable environments. It is the first of five missions envisioned to take place by 2030 as part of its support for Africa and working with the youth.

“We engage with organisations such as Rotary International and private sector business supporting communities to enable research and trade missions aligned with agreements between Africa, Europe and the UK and to encourage trade, tourism and sustainable growth,” said a C2C spokesperson.

Single mother Grunewald describes herself as “just one of the boys” and is no stranger to 4x4 adventures, having done several previous overland trips. She is also a long-term member of the Land Rover Owners Club, the 4x4 Action Group and For the Thrills operation.

“I am a creative person with positive, enthusiastic energy and a strong independent woman, 4x4 enthusiast, nature lover and outdoor girl, who enjoys collaborating with people and creating lasting relationships. I am also a very capable photographer,” said Grunewald, who runs a photographic company.

Speaking to Motor News from Entebbe in Uganda, Grunewald said the trip had gone well so far though there had been some mechanical issues.

“Most of the vehicles required some steering and suspension repairs in Uganda. We’re driving old Landies so it’s to be expected,” she said. “I’m driving a 2000 Defender 110 TD5 with more than 300,000km so it’s not a new car at all.”

After three weeks and 7,200km the journey had taken the group from SA to Uganda. The team experienced some minor issues on day one with a blowout and a leaking cooling water pipe that were quickly repaired and sorted out, and they were back on their way to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda.

The adventure will next take the explorers through Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, before crossing to Turkey.

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