Adrift in Top Gear

Adrift led the notorious Top Gear team in search of the Source of the Nile last October.  Adrift CEO, New Zealander, Cam McLeay is recognized as one of the leading experts on the navigation of the Nile.  Despite thousands of years of human exploration of the Nile, there is still some debate about the location of the source of the world’s longest river.  Jeremy Clarkson was enthused to put his own spin on one of exploration’s greatest prizes, and to share the prize with his car. 


No other river on the planet has played such a significant role in human history.  Thousands of years ago, great Egyptian armies marched up the Nile in search of the source, and Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, Baker and Grant were amongst the famous Victorian names keen to claim the prize.  In 1862 John Hanning Speke stood on the banks of the Nile near Jinja, and proclaimed ‘…the Nile is settled..’ but Top Gear didn’t agree. 


It wasn’t until 1996, that Adrift completed the first-ever descent of the wildest section of the Nile and in then the remarkable Ascend the Nile expedition of 2005/6 (co-led by Cam McLeay) navigated over 98% of the Nile’s 6718km length by boat from the Mediterranean Sea to Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, completing the planet’s longest river journey and mapping the river from water for the first time.  This expedition featured in ‘Joanna Lumley’s Nile’. 


When presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May started their homework on the source of the Nile, they were soon in touch with Adrift – who better to lead them to the source of the Nile?  Cam led, yet another expedition to the Nile from the front, albeit this time in ageing estate cars (still younger than any of the presenters) imported from the UK especially for the purpose.  BBC 2 will feature the first of a two-part special at 8pm Sunday 03rdMarch in the UK.  Guaranteed to put a new spin on Nile exploration, the cars battle their way through some of Africa’s most spectacular scenery.  So compelling was the footage of this expedition that the ‘Top Gear Special’ will now air in two parts (twice the length of intended coverage).  Watch this space for more on how the expedition evolved.,