Daniel van Acker owns a small graphic design company in Denmark. But just as strong as his passions is for design, so it is equally for travelling, adventure and ever-new experiences. Five years ago, while travelling South Africa as a backpacker, he mentioned to someone how he loved Minis but had left his at home. It was then suggested that he should traverses Africa with his Mini.
Impossible? That was until he returned home and started researching the possibility of actually doing it. Cape Town soon became the focus of this project.
He took the Mini into his garage for repairs and preperation and started saving up for the trip. YouTube proved invaluable in repairing the car. “If you want to learn something, anything, it’s all there,” says Daniel. He then travelled around Europe, about 8 000 kilometres, also testing the Mini and preparing for Africa. On September 14, 2014 he set of on his journey which only really started in Egypt after the car had been ferried over.
“No, there is absolutely no rational reason why anybody would travel through Africa in a Mini. But this is the thing. You have to challenge yourself all the time. Challenge and question what you believe about things because more often than not, your initial perceptions would be wrong.”
So he travelled about 200 kilometres per day, sometimes 400, and sometimes nothing, to explore the area in which he found himself. No travelling was done at night and although he stuck to known roads as much as possible, he was bound to, and did, venture off to places of interest. And his 40-year-old Mini always came through. The Mini was standard except for a bigger radiator, undercarriage protection and wider tyres.
“It is a huge conversation starter everywhere I arrive or travel, and this is of course, the whole point of these types of adventures: to learn and experience new cultures and people. To see new things is good, but it is the one-on-one with different people that creates the true and life-changing experiences.”
On his way from Kruger National park, Daniel stopped in Mbombela to replace all the filters and a few other things on the Mini. And, long story short, Nic Gant from the FFA workshop heard about Daniel buying spares at LGE and offered him FFA’s facility and a helper to TLC the Mini before he set off for the Drakensberg. His next destination would be George, where he plans to visit the Vintage Show before the final stretch to Cape Town via Port Elizabeth.
Here’s an interesting titbit. Although Daniel carries two GPSes, most of his navigation is done on his cellphone. “That’s just how good the technology has become,” he explained.
Should you wish to follow Daniel, you can visit www.facebook.com/dacker
But we had to introduce Daniel to the local Mini enthusiasts and we did – a wonderful experience for all of them. Will they copy Daniel’s adventure? Oh no, absolutely not. It’s absolutely nuts!
Whereto from Cape Town? “Don’t know. It’s like a disease, but yeah, there will be more.”