Vintage aircraft completes Africa rally

This picture taken on July 23, 2016 shows a crowd at a ceremony to unveil the AG600 amphibious plane in Zhuhai, in south China's Guangdong Province. China has completed production of the world's largest amphibious aircraft, state media has said, the latest effort in the country's program to wean itself off dependence on foreign aviation firms. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUT

Vintage aeroplanes mostly dating from the 1920s and 1930s has ended rally at 13,000km (8,000 miles).

The event, which rumbled to a start in Crete on Nov. 12 with pilots from South Africa, Botswana and elsewhere, raised money for wildlife and other charity projects with the aim of following in the footsteps of pioneering flights in the 1920s.

The planes have mostly open cockpits and are equipped with only rudimentary navigation and safety equipment.

The route also took the pilots along some of the most evocative points in Africa, including a low flight along the Nile from Cairo to Khartoum in Sudan, past the continent’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro and over the Serengeti game reserve and Victoria Falls.

According to The Vintage Air Rally website the route as “flying low along the Nile from Cairo to Khartoum, past the highlands of Ethiopia before the plains of Kenya and the home of African aviation in Nairobi”.

One of the pilots on the route is reported to have experienced total engine failure.

Another, 72-year-old British man Maurice Kirk, went missing twice, was arrested in Ethiopia and touched down in battle-hit South Sudan instead of Kenya.

Rally organiser Sam Rutherford said that, although the rally had been successful, “I’ll breathe a massive sigh of relief when we get to Cape Town”.

One of the organizers, Belgian flight safari company Prepare2go, also said the only obligatory equipment for the journey was a sleeping bag, full black tie dress for meeting dignitaries along the way and a beginners’ guide to Swahili.

Zainab Sa’id