Driving along the A259 at rush hour can feel like an epic journey at times.
But spare a thought for Toby Harris, who drove 5,000 miles from Littlehampton to the Sahara desert in a week in aid of the Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.
He was set to travel with his friend Simon Clube, but due to a last-minute change Toby was joined by his son Donovan, 19, instead.
Setting off on Saturday, August 17, the daredevil duo travelled through France, the Pyrenees and Spain, caught a ferry to Morroco and drove down the coast via Casablanca to Western Sahara, a disputed territory across the border.
Here, they had enough time to swap their Suzuki Alto for a short ride by camel before winging it back to Littlehampton by 1.30am on Sunday, August 25. Having just about recovered from his lack of sleep, Toby said his family and friends ‘were glad we made it back in one piece’, adding: “I don’t think I can top this – not in a week.”
Toby said driving through Marrakesh in Morroco was ‘mental’ as ‘health and safety does not exist there’, but the Atlas mountains were the peak of his trip – metaphorically and literally.
He said: “It was absolutely unreal. The roads were just amazing. Twisties, lots of bends, sheer drops, amazing scenery... I just loved it. The more dangerous it is, the more I like it.”
After stopping off in the Morrocan town Tiznit and city Tan-Tan, the pair arrived at their destination.
They went off the beaten track, driving across sand plains before arriving at wooden shacks where locals who reared racing camels treated them to a lunch of potatoes with garlic and olives, cooked in a clay pot and served with bread.
Using a translation application on their mobiles, Toby and Donovan got a camel ride – and decided it was time to head back.
Toby averaged 12 to 14 hours behind the wheel a day, but faced a gruelling 21-hour drive on the final leg to arrive home in time. His secret? Lots of energy drinks.
On September 7, the pair will be holding a homecoming party with a charity raffle, after which they will announce the total raised.
“We have done our bit – now it is time to do yours,” Toby said.
To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/africa-2019