It is now 2013. Today, how do we envision Africa? For many of us, it's a flight into Nairobi and being met at the airport with a hotel bus that whisks us away for an adventure on the Serengeti Plains.
Turn the clock back to 1959. 54 years ago, Wally Byam, master of Airstream travel, took a Caravan of 41 Airstream families to Africa. They were to experience a singular historic trip beginning in Cape Town, Union of South Africa and ending in Cairo, Egypt. By the time they'd left Alexandria, Egypt to head to Beirut, Lebanon, they had been on the road for 221 days and had traveled over 14,000 miles.
Road travel in Africa encompassed various road types: some were paved, and some stripped. Some were washboard roads, and others were rutted. There were dusty roads, mountainous roads, quagmires, desert sand, and in some places, no roads at all.
Occasionally hazards, as seen above: a deteriorating bridge with nothing but old planks to support vehicles crossing.
Such is the journey of the Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan in 1959 – 1960.
Today there is a Trans-African Highway running up the eastern side of Africa. It is reported that there are still a few areas that remained to be graded and paved. Times change. But Airstream always adventures. We always Live Riveted.
Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn has silver in his blood. Each week, Pee Wee shares one of his many stories, including his experiences on the iconic Airstream Caravans, his time spent working in the Airstream factory, and the many Airstreamers he’s befriended, far and wide.