On 23 August, Team Tane members returned from the summit of Kilimanjaro and made the final notch on their climbing gear, having summited Africa’s five highest mountains on their Suzuki Africa Sky High Adventure.
For Team Tane, which consists of Tarryn and Shane Quinnell, the last climb was certainly a bit bittersweet. Tarryn, who successfully summited Mt Speke, Mt Stanley, Mt Baker and the very challenging north face of Mt Kenya, had to turn back with only 250 m vertical metres of the climb left, after she started showing signs of pulmonary oedema or altitude sickness.
“The decision was a very tough one, but we believe it was the right one to make,” says Shane, who continued to the peak with the couple’s lucky charm, Badgito. Badgito is a small model of their 2011 Suzuki Jimny that has hitched a ride on the couple’s backpacks up every one of the five highest mountains in Africa.
While the five summits were certainly the biggest and most daring part of the couple’s adventure, they still have several months and many thousand kilometres of their Suzuki Africa Sky High Adventure left before they turn their Jimny around to head back to South Africa.
“After two months of sub-zero temperatures atop the five peaks, we decided to take a week’s break in Dar es Salaam. Hopefully we can also give our Suzuki, which we have christened Badger, a bit of tender loving care during that week and even its first proper wash and vacuum in over two months,” says Tarryn.
Badger has completed over 10 000 km of rough and tumble driving since leaving South Africa, including many kilometres of very rutted roads before Kilimanjaro, with car-swallowing potholes and seemingly endless corrugations. And in a quaint coincidence, its odometer hit 100 000 km in the same week that Tarryn celebrated her birthday.
After Team Tane’s break in Tanzania’s largest city, the couple and Badger will explore Zanzibar and specifically Pemba Island, with its sandy beaches and myths of witchcraft. The couple will then head to Malawi to spend time as volunteers in an orphanage.
“The five highest mountains were a major milestone for us, but we still have a journal-list full of adventures left. We want to continue showcasing our home continent, its interesting sights and sounds and its very warm people to the world,” says Shane.
Apart from their climbs, Team Tane has traced the source of the White Nile, learned the magic of freshly grown coffee near the Sipi Falls in Uganda, tracked wild game with the nomadic Hadzabe hunters – who forced Shane into eating fresh animal brains – and visited the stunning Serengeti, to name but a few of the adventures that they have documented on teamtane.com.
On their various adventures, their white Suzuki Jimny has attracted a lot of attention, especially since tourists and locals alike are more used to large, bulky 4x4s. One Tanzanian tour operator even offered the couple $70 000 and a flight ticket home if he could buy the Jimny and continue on their adventure.
“The money certainly was tempting, but I don’t think our sponsors would be very happy,” laughed Tarryn, who added that they have had five offers from overland enthusiasts and tourists who wanted to buy their Jimny. “Badger is part of our family and we would never think of selling him!”
“In the Serengeti, we were watching a pride of lions when someone appeared alongside the car. He was so interested in the size and shape of the Jimny that he completely ignored the pride of lions, saying: ‘I am not interested in the lions, I want to talk about your car!’’
Named Rob, the stranger is now a friend of Team Tane. They ended up following him on an adventure to Lake Eyasi.