msafiri 66 CARS Africa's iconic cars From the minibus to the Land Rover, Hamilton Wende takes a look at the vehicles that define Africa C ar enthusiasts will tell you that Africa's cars are as varied, and often as exciting as its magnificent wildlife. Driving in Africa is invariably an adventure. The roads are often little more than dirt tracks and many of the tarred routes have serious numbers of potholes in them. In Africa, a trusty car is essential for getting around and it is especially important if you are travelling long distances. Cars, it is often said, are a mirror of their owner's personality, and in Africa, the range of vehicles – and the state they are in – is a mirror of the continent's sometimes struggling, but always exuberant soul. The history of cars in Africa has always been colourful and quirky. One of my favourite old photographs is of a black and white print taken early in the twentieth century in the high colonial era of Karen Blixen and Lord Delamere. It is of a Model T Ford being towed across a raging river by a span of oxen. I can't imagine that Henry Ford ever imagined that ignominious fate for his famous brand! At another extreme, in the middle of the civil war in Angola, I once saw a Lamborghini Countach nosing its way through Luanda's potholed, rubbish- strewn streets. The car for Africa But it is the humble Peugeot 404 that has, in modern times, been hands down the most popular car across the continent. The first model was brought out in 1960 in France, but many were also built under licence in Africa itself.