I rubbed my bleary eyes as the caffeine kicked in, and the fog lifted. Twenty-three hours of air travel, on a nearly 12,000-mile marvel of a modern journey from Gotham City to Lusaka, Zambia—what used to be Northern Rhodesia. Then, three hours’ sleep in a fantastic hotel after greeting friends old and new. I cracked a local Mosi beer for breakfast. It would have been almost rude not to. Some might well agree that it would even out the cockeyed view of the world-class sunrise peeking through my jet-lag-tinted glasses on the long drive out to camp.
The last best 4WD I had climbed out of was a Lamborghini Aventador, at Pebble Beach. But this was a whole different kettle of fish, one that had me thinking of a more immediate and potentially self-imposed grisly demise, bleeding out hundreds of miles from the closest hospital in a squashed four-wheel-drive tin can. I girded my loins for an interval training course of plunges into, and out of, the abyss—placing life, team, and sanity in the cradle of Warn Industries winches, Cooper Discoverer STT Pro tires, and notorious Land Rover mechanics. The guy who wrenched the car together being an entirely different story.
Lunatics have been tinkering and convening to spike their adrenaline since combustion engines were invented, but this— orienteering through elephant terrain—was convening with a cause. We were there for the dust, sweat, and gears of the Elephant Charge, an annual extreme off-road