Four years ago, on December 12th 2014, my little Fiat 126 otherwise known as the Green Beast, brought me to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. The car surprised me…it managed the whole length of Africa without any major breakdowns. Although it survived the hardships of the journey, it naturally required major renovation after our return.
This journey was the first expedition of the Green Beast, and the second of the OnTheWay travel and film project. The trip changed my life by showing me that it was possible for travelling to become my favoured occupation. From the very beginning, while I was planning the expedition, I had always wanted it to be much more than a simple overland trip. I wanted it to be a part of my work and professional life; a mixture of pleasure and work. And part of this blend, was the potential creation of a TV series. This last aspect did not go easily, and hung in the balance, when conversations with television stations resulted into nothing. No one seemed interested in cooperating. So I decided to take a chance on myself; I used my savings and borrowed additional funds to produce the series myself. With a modest budget that didn’t allow for a professional team to join me, I took my friends (my crew) along. None of them had ever crossed the continent before, nor had they worked on the production of a TV series. I didn't know how to make such a series either. I was constantly learning while on the trip, often struggling and battling with my own weaknesses. I often felt resignation and doubt, but eventually it was determination and will power that pushed the whole caravan onwards. I hit my lowest point in Botswana. I took a separate route from my crew for a few days. One evening, while preparing for a night alone in the African bush, I felt that my plan was not going as anticipated. I was close to calling it quits; feelings of doubt rising, and the awareness that my funds were quickly depleting as time went on, with the possibility that I would not be able to reach the end with two cars and a production crew. Fortunately, when I was crossing the Kalahari wilderness the next day, I reached a turning point. With every kilometre of gravel road crossed, my strength increased. The route, as demanding as it was for the Green Beast, was amazing. I felt a newfound energy and positivity enter my mind; after all, I was doing what I loved. This was my passion, I could not lose track of that. I pulled together additional funds and pushed the team, with their car, to the finish line.
Looking back, crossing Africa with my little Fiat was an amazing experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life but on the other hand, I didn’t expect that working on the TV series and taking a crew with me, would be the most difficult elements of the journey. With gained experience from my travels and work over the last 4 years, there are a few things I would, of course, change, in terms of production and post production. The series, however, has been a success. It was shown on Polish TV for two years, and due to its success, it allowed me to travel across Asia, to produce another one.
The series “In Maluch Across Africa” can now be viewed on my YouTube channel. To watch it please click here -> In Maluch Across Africa or scroll down. The series is mainly in the Polish language with added English subtitles.
The first TROUBLES. Episode 1/10
The first TROUBLES. Episode 1/10 [Poland - Egypt] After a year of preparation, the Maluch finally sets off for Egypt. There are already problems at the beginning - Maluch enters the shipping container on a tow. Then the car is stopped in the Egyptian port. After two weeks of fighting with Egyptian officials, we are on our way to conquering Africa. It is also difficult to get visas to Sudan. While waiting for the visas, I spend some time with Mohamed. I participate in Nubian wedding preparations and then go on a cruise on the River Nile.
50 degree Celsius. Episode 2/10
50 degree Celsius. Episode 2/10 [Sudan] I am invited to the home of some friendly Sudanese locals. In the host’s home, curious neighbours quickly appear. The next day I continue further on. I am sleeping in the desert. During the day the temperature in the car reaches 50 degrees. I even attempt to fry an egg on the car bonnet! Later I reach the Meroe cemetery, and then on to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. I discover that it is possible to drive a Maluch up to 355 kilometres on one tank.
The CHALLENGE in the Ethiopian mountains. Episode 3/10
The CHALLENGE in the Ethiopian mountains. Episode 3/10 [Ethiopia] The Maluch is facing a real challenge in the mountains of Ethiopia. I'm worried about the engine and brakes. I reach the picturesque waterfall of the Blue Nile, the town of Lalibela and the churches carved into the rocks. Along the way, I meet a group of Poles who have organised the charity ‘Eyes of Ethiopia.' I get to the capital, where the driver of the production car becomes ill. I am going to the south of the country along the Rift Valley. I visit the Dorze community situated among banana trees near the city of Arba Minch.
In OMO valley. Episode 4/10
In OMO valley. Episode 4/10 [OMO VALLEY] Ethiopia is a surprising place. I visit Omo Valley in the south of Ethiopia that has its own unique rhythm. High up in the mountains, I reach the interesting village of the Konso people. I meet Karo, Daasenach and Hamer. I have the opportunity to observe the bull jumping ceremony. Next, with my brave Fiat 126p, I am moving towards the Kenyan border.
The worst ROAD in East Africa. Episode 5/10
The worst ROAD in East Africa. Episode 5/10 [KENYA] One of the worst roads in Eastern Africa awaits me. Fortunately, the Maluch reaches its destination. I meet a Salesian who has been building schools in Africa for 25 years. I encounter African corrugations. Meanwhile, the film crew following the Maluch, has exceeded the speed limit, which ends with an arrest. The driver leaves jail after paying a penalty. I am close to reaching Uganda.
STRUGGLE in the rain forest. Episode 6/10
STRUGGLE in the rain forest. Episode 6/10 [UGANDA] In the vicinity of Lake Victoria, I try white water rafting on the White Nile cascades. I am going to the Kibale park, which is a refuge for many chimpanzees. The Maluch has a huge problem with overcoming muddy roads. When he falls into a ditch, he needs help from the locals. The next stage of the expedition is the Queen Elisabeth National Park, where I visit a big hole in the bush! Next, the Maluch is exercising and pushing its limits on these very difficult roads.
GORILLAS in the mist. Episode 7/10
GORILLAS in the mist. Episode 7/10 [UGANDA - RWANDA] I am on the trail for mountain gorillas that inhabit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. I meet a group of Pygmy Batwa, who were displaced and expelled from their wilderness. Next, I'm going to Rwanda. My Fiat 126p bravely battles on ahead on these demanding roads. I meet Boda Boda riders. I am getting tested for the Ebola virus. I'm reaching Kigali. I visit the Nyamata church, where in 1994 one of the most terrifying acts of the Tutsi genocide occurred.
The GREATEST road in Africa. Episode 8/10
The GREATEST road in Africa. Episode 8/10 [Tanzania] I'm reaching Tanzania. A demanding path into uncharted grounds ahead of me. We experience bumps, stones, African corrugations and the all-present laterite dust. Eventually, the road becomes one of the most wonderful memorable roads I encounter in Africa. I reach the longest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika. I am visiting the Liemba ship that has been sailing around Tanganyika since 1913. I reach the least visited national park in Tanzania. The bravest Maluch in the world is slowly approaching the border with Zambia.
10000 km!!! Episode 9/10
10000 km!!! Episode 9/10 [Zambia - Botswana - Namibia] The Green Beast reaches Zambia. I discover an old estate in the middle of a Zambian bush. Traveling can surprise you. I'm heading onwards, where the Zambezi River and adrenaline will greet me. I find a Polish haven on African soil. I cross Kalahari towards the border crossing in the middle of the African bush. The Maluch still works and pushes on. 10,000 kilometers behind us.
The LAST stretch!!! Episode 10/10
The LAST stretch!!! Episode 10/10 [Namibia - South Africa] The journey is coming to an end. I am visiting the village of the famous inhabitants of Kalahari. People of Khoi San so-called Bushmen. I also meet the Himba people. The vast spaces of Namibia delight the senses. The Maluch starts its last, very long, stretch to Cape Town. The car has traveling is his blood. The little Fiat is beating its speed record on African land.