Features/challenges: Botswana Special: (Lancia Beta • Opel Kadett • Mercedes-Benz 230E)
Original air date: November 4, 2007
The presenters are on another road trip, this time travelling across Botswana and the spine of Africa, to prove to the people of Surrey, in three used cars bought within the continent on a budget of £1,500, that they don’t need four-wheel drive cars to drive up leafy lanes. May, being sensible, chooses a 1985 Mercedes-Benz 230E, a car favoured and loved by Africans (at the time), while Clarkson decides on a 1981 Lancia Beta Coupe because of Lancia’s history with rally racing, and Hammond buys a 1963 Opel Kadett which he slowly falls in love with. On their journey from Botswana’s border with Zimbabwe to its northern border with Namibia, the presenters face a series of challenges, including getting across the Makgadikgadi Pan by stripping and lightening their cars, seeing how fast each is on a specially made rally circuit, forging a path over the Kalahari to reach Maun for fuel, and animal-proofing their cars before they cross the Okavango Delta, all while being hunted down by a Volkswagen Beetle, a car that all three hate and which is to be their back-up should any presenter’s car fail to start, which proves a worry for Clarkson.
Note: In homage to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1984, the show’s credits replaced each crew member’s first name replaced with the words “Archbishop Desmond” (e.g. “Archbishop Desmond Clarkson”, “Archbishop Desmond Hammond”, “Archbishop Desmond May”).